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Congenital absence of salivary glands in Down syndrome


Background Children with Down syndrome have different saliva composition compared to normal children. The presence or absence of the salivary glands has not been previously reported.

Objective To examine the presence or absence of the salivary glands in children with Down syndrome.

Methods 15 children with Down syndrome underwent an ultrasound examination of the salivary glands. The control group consisted of 31 healthy children. The areas of the parotid and submandibular glands on both sides were scanned in an attempt to demonstrate all four glands. The result was reported as ‘present’ or ‘absent’.

Results In four children out of 15 with Down syndrome, one or more salivary glands were absent (26.7%), while in the controls all salivary glands were present. The difference between the groups was statistically significant (p=0.008). There was no significant difference between the groups regarding age and sex.

Conclusions At least one salivary gland is undetected by ultrasound in some children with Down syndrome.

  • Congenital Abnorm
  • Imaging

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    R Mark Beattie