Gastrointestinal problems in the neurologically impaired child


Gastrointestinal problems in the neurologically impaired child


Sullivan P


Bailliere's Clinical Gastroenterology




Child; Humans; Preschool; Q3 Literature Search; Enteral Nutrition/methods; Cerebral Palsy/complications; Gastrostomy/adverse effects; Constipation/etiology; Gastroesophageal Reflux/etiology/physiopathology/surgery; Gastrointestinal Diseases/etiology/physiopathology; Gastrointestinal Motility; Nervous System Diseases/complications/physiopathology; Nutrition Physiology


Damage to the developing central nervous system may result in significant dysfunction in the gastrointestinal tract and is reflected in impairment in oral-motor function, rumination, gastro-oesophageal reflux, with or without aspiration, delayed gastric emptying and constipation. These problems can all potentially contribute to feeding difficulty in disabled children. Early recognition of an infant with neurological impairment that is compromising the normal feeding process is crucial. Detailed assessment of the nature of the feeding difficulties will help to predict the anticipated future nutritional needs and will allow decisions to be made about the appropriateness of input from different professionals (speech therapy, dietitians, gastroenterologists). Only when such information has been carefully assembled will rational and directed medical and surgical therapy be possible. Nutritional rehabilitation of disabled children can be associated with increased mortality and morbidity secondary to gastro-oesophageal reflux, retching, dumping syndrome or aspiration. It may also entail an increased work for care givers and increase costs of care. It is therefore necessary to document the impact of such rehabilitation on growth and quality of life for both patient and care giver.


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Citation List Month



Sullivan P, “Gastrointestinal problems in the neurologically impaired child,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed June 21, 2024,