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Paediatr Child Health. 2009 Jul;14(6):395-401.

Nutrition in neurologically impaired children.

[No authors listed]

Abstract

Malnutrition, either under- or overnutrition, is a common condition among neurologically impaired children. Energy needs are difficult to define in this heterogeneous population, and there is a lack of information on what normal growth should be in these children. Non-nutritional factors may influence growth, but nutritional factors such as insufficient caloric intake, excessive nutrient losses and abnormal energy metabolism also contribute to growth failure. Malnutrition is associated with significant morbidity, while nutritional rehabilitation improves overall health. Nutritional support should be an integral part of the management of neurologically impaired children, and should focus not only on improving nutritional status but also on improving quality of life for patients and their families. When considering nutritional intervention, oromotor dysfunction, gastroesophageal reflux and pulmonary aspiration must be addressed and a multidisciplinary team should be involved. Children at risk for nutrition-related problems should be identified early. An assessment of nutritional status should be performed at least yearly, and more frequently in infants and young children, or in children at risk for malnutrition. Oral intake should be optimized if safe, but enteral tube feedings should be initiated in children with oromotor dysfunction, leading to clinically significant aspiration, or in children unable to maintain an adequate nutritional status with oral intake. Nasogastric tube feeding should be used for short-term intervention, but if long-term nutritional intervention is required, a gastrostomy should be considered. Antireflux procedures should be reserved for children with significant gastroesophageal reflux. The patient's response to nutritional intervention should be carefully monitored to avoid excessive weight gain after initiation of enteral nutrition, and paediatric formulas should be used to avoid micronutrient deficiencies.

KEYWORDS:

Cerebral palsy; Growth; Neurologically impaired; Nutrition

PMID:
20592978
PMCID:
PMC2735385
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