American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM) Swallowing Function and Nutritional Status in Adults with CP

Citation:  McAllister A, Sjöstrand E, Rodby-Bousquet E. Eating and Drinking Ability and Nutritional Status in Adults with Cerebral Palsy. Dev Med Child Neurol. Feb 2022. doi:10.1111/dmcn.15196.

Study type / Population:  Cross sectional study using Swedish CP registry data. Total 2035 adults, median age 26 years. Approximately equal representation of GMFCS I-V amongst participants.

Key findings: The Eating and Drinking Ability Classification System (EDACS) is a validated instrument for dysphagia measurement, and was applied to participants in the study. 50% of adults were found to eat and drink safely and efficiently, whilst a third have dysphagia; 60% eat and drink independently and 20% are partly or totally dependent on mealtime assistance. Higher EDACS level (ie. greater mealtime assistance needed) is associated with decreasing weight, height and BMI. Mealtime dependency and longer mealtimes are strong risk factors for low body weight.

Translation to practice (what this paper adds): Aspiration and pulmonary disorders are among the top causes of death in adults with CP. One third of adults have dysphagia, with limitations to eating and drinking safety. Adults with CP should be routinely screened using EDACS and identified dysphagia should be addressed.

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