Feeding Update: Feeding and swallowing difficulties in spinal muscular atrophy

J Pediatr. 2012 Mar;160(3):447-451.e1. Epub  2011 Sep 15.

Prevalence and risk factors for feeding and swallowing difficulties in spinal muscular atrophy types II and III.

Chen YS, Shih HH, Chen TH, Kuo CH, Jong YJ.



To identify the prevalence and risk factors of feeding and swallowing problems in patients with type II and type III spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).


Cross-sectional data from 108 genetically confirmed patients with SMA (age range, 3-45 years; 60 with type II and 48 with type III) were analyzed. The questionnaire survey included demographic data, current motor function and respiratory status, feeding and swallowing difficulties, and consequences. The risk factors were analyzed via logistic regression.


The 3 most common feeding and swallowing difficulties in patients with type II and III SMA were choking (30.6%), difficulty conveying food to the mouth (20.4%), and difficulty chewing (20.4%). Current motor function status was an independent risk factor for feeding and swallowing difficulties (sitters vs walkers: OR, 7.59; 95% CI, 1.22-47.46). All 4 nonsitters (ie, patients with type II SMA who had lost their sitting ability) had feeding and swallowing difficulties. Patients with feeding and swallowing difficulties had significantly higher rates of underweight and aspiration pneumonia than those without these problems.


Patients with type II and III SMA have a high prevalence of risk factors for feeding and swallowing difficulties, suggesting that an individualized treatment plan should depend on current motor function status.

Source : Department of Pediatrics, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.



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