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Respiratory disease accounts for a high proportion of hospital admissions in young people with cerebral palsy (CP),1 and re-admission rates are high.2 The development of respiratory disease in this population is poorly understood, but onset appears to be gradual and undetected for a long time. Early identification of risk factors for severe respiratory disease would enable families and clinicians to intervene earlier and prevent, or at least minimise, the development of severe respiratory disease.
We recently reported a 3-year longitudinal study of 482 young people (aged 1–26 years) with CP.3 At the beginning of the study, participants or their carers reported on a range of respiratory symptoms and comorbidities. These responses were linked prospectively to hospital admissions for 3 years to identify the following factors, which predicted subsequent respiratory hospital admissions: a Gross Motor Function Classification Scale (GMFCS) level V, at least one respiratory hospital admission in the year preceding the survey, oropharyngeal dysphagia, seizures, frequent respiratory symptoms, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, at …
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