Prevalence of drooling, swallowing, and feeding problems in cerebral palsy across the lifespan: a systematic review and meta-analyses

Renée Speyer*, Reinie Cordier, Jae Hyun Kim, Naomi Cocks, Emilia Michou, Sarah Wilkes-Gillan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Aim: To determine the prevalence of drooling, swallowing, and feeding problems in persons with cerebral palsy (CP) across the lifespan. Method: A systematic review was conducted using five different databases (AMED, CINAHL, Embase, MEDLINE, and PubMed). The selection process was completed by two independent researchers and the methodological quality of included studies was assessed using the STROBE and AXIS guidelines. Meta-analyses were conducted to determine pooled prevalence estimates of drooling, swallowing, and feeding problems with stratified group analyses by type of assessment and Gross Motor Function Classification System level. Results: A total of 42 studies were included. Substantial variations in selected outcome measures and variables were observed, and data on adults were limited. Pooled prevalence estimates determined by meta-analyses were as high as 44.0% (95% confidence interval [CI] 35.6–52.7) for drooling, 50.4% (95% CI 36.0–64.8) for swallowing problems, and 53.5% (95% CI 40.7–65.9) for feeding problems. Group analyses for type of assessments were non-significant; however, more severely impaired functioning in CP was associated with concomitant problems of increased drooling, swallowing, and feeding. Interpretation: Drooling, swallowing, and feeding problems are very common in people with CP. Consequently, they experience increased risks of malnutrition and dehydration, aspiration pneumonia, and poor quality of life. What this paper adds: Drooling, swallowing, and feeding problems are very common in persons with cerebral palsy (CP). The prevalence of drooling, swallowing, and feeding problems is 44.0%, 50.4%, and 53.5% respectively. There are limited data on the prevalence of drooling, swallowing, and feeding problems in adults. Higher Gross Motor Function Classification System levels are associated with higher prevalence of drooling, swallowing, and feeding problems. There is increased risk for malnutrition, dehydration, aspiration pneumonia, and poor quality of life in CP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1249-1258
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Volume61
Issue number11
Early online date22 Jul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes

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