Breathing in Children with Cerebral Palsy

Breathing in Children with Cerebral PalsyBreathing in Children with Cerebral Palsy

Developmental Neurorehabilitation published research comparing breathing in children with cerebral palsy to neurotypical peersThe participants in the study included 20 children with cerebral palsy (GMFCS levels I-III) and 20 neurotypical children ages 7-11 years old.  To determine the immediate effect of breathing rate on heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV), HR was monitored at rest and during paced breathing with biofeedback.  Spirometry was used to evaluate respiration.

The results indicated the following regarding breathing in children with cerebral palsy:

  • lower spirometry and HRV values at rest compared to neurotypical children.
  • during paced breathing the mean reduction of breathing rate among children with CP was significantly smaller.
  • while practicing paced breathing, both groups reduced their breathing rate and increased their HRV.

The researchers concluded that paced breathing immediately effects HRV parameters in children.  Additional studies are recommended on long-term treatment effects of paced breathing for children with cerebral palsy.

Reference:  Amichai, T., Eylon, S., Berger, I., & Katz-Leurer, M. (2018). The impact of breathing rate on the cardiac autonomic dynamics among children with cerebral palsy compared to typically developed controls. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 1-6.

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