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Objectives: Rett syndrome (RS) is a severe neurological developmental disorder characterised by stereotypical hand movements, epileptic seizures, craniofacial dysmorphism and digestive dysfunction. This study aimed to examine the correlation between the severity of malocclusion and dysphagia in patients with RS. Methods: This preliminary study was conducted at the Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic of the University Hospital of Siena, Siena, Italy, from January 2014 to December 2017. A total of 56 patients with RS were examined and grouped according to the severity of dysphagia (absent, mild, moderate or severe) and malocclusion (<2 mm, 2–3 mm, 3–4 mm or >4 mm). Results: All of the patients were female and the mean age was 11.3 years. Eight (14.3%) patients had mild, 18 (32.1%) had moderate and 30 (53.6%) had severe dysphagia. Four (7.1%) patients had <2 mm occlusion, 10 (17.9%) had 2–3 mm occlusion, 26 (46.4%) had 3–4 mm occlusion and 16 (28.6%) had >4 mm occlusion. Mild dysphagia was observed in 100% and 40% of patients with <2 and 2–3 mm malocclusion, respectively, while moderate dysphagia was present in 60% and 38.5% of patients with 2–3 and 3–4 mm malocclusion, respectively. Severe dysphagia was observed in 28.6% and 87.5% of patients with 3–4 and >4 mm malocclusion, respectively. There was a significant correlation between dysphagia and malocclusion severity (P <0.001). Conclusion: A higher degree of malocclusion was associated with more severe dysphagia among a cohort of patients with RS.
Keywords: X-Linked Mental Retardation; Rett Syndrome; Dysphagia; Malocclusion; Feeding and Eating Disorders of Childhood.