Aspiration/Chronic Lung Disease

Children with CP and other chronic disorders are at risk for acute and chronic respiratory illness due to neurological and anatomical dysfunction. Recurrent pneumonia can be a frequent, often unrecognized, sign of aspiration. Although pneumonia may occur as an isolated illness in any child, it should prompt consideration for further evaluation in a child with CP.

Factors contributing to aspiration in children with chronic illness include oral motor dysfunction, gastroesophageal reflux, sleep apnea, seizures, atelectasis/bronchiectasis, tracheal malacia, restrictive lung disease, airway hyposensitivity, ineffective cough, inadequate seating posture, and scoliosis.

Optimal management of the child includes:
  • Minimizing aspiration risk
  • Optimizing nutrition
  • Immunizing - including influenza and pneumococcal vaccines
  • Ensuring good posture support in seating
  • Monitoring for scoliosis
  • Avoiding active/passive tobacco smoke
Monitor for symptoms of, evaluate for, and manage problems associated with:
  • Dysphagia/aspiration
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Sleep apnea/obstruction
  • Comorbid pulmonary conditions (e.g., asthma, allergies, BPD).
Refer to a pediatric gastroenterologist, pulmonologist, or sleep specialist for further evaluation/intervention if indicated.



Pediatric Gastroenterology

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Pediatric Pulmonology

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Pediatric Sleep Medicine

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Author: Lynne M. Kerr, MD, PhD - 10/2008
Reviewing Authors: Meghan Candee, MD - 2/2016
Nicholas Johnson, MD - 2/2016
Content Last Updated: 2/2016