UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Identifying and Evaluating Young Children with Developmental Central Hypotonia: An Overview of Systematic Reviews and Tools Hidalgo Robles, Álvaro; Paleg, Ginny S.; Livingstone, Roslyn W.


Children with developmental central hypotonia have reduced muscle tone secondary to non-progressive damage to the brain or brainstem. Children may have transient delays, mild or global functional impairments, and the lack of a clear understanding of this diagnosis makes evaluating appropriate interventions challenging. This overview aimed to systematically describe the best available evidence for tools to identify and evaluate children with developmental central hypotonia aged 2 months to 6 years. A systematic review of systematic reviews or syntheses was conducted with electronic searches in PubMed, Medline, CINAHL, Scopus, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Google Scholar, and PEDro and supplemented with hand-searching. Methodological quality and risk-of-bias were evaluated, and included reviews and tools were compared and contrasted. Three systematic reviews, an evidence-based clinical assessment algorithm, three measurement protocols, and two additional measurement tools were identified. For children aged 2 months to 2 years, the Hammersmith Infant Neurological Examination has the strongest measurement properties and contains a subset of items that may be useful for quantifying the severity of hypotonia. For children aged 2–6 years, a clinical algorithm and individual tools provide guidance. Further research is required to develop and validate all evaluative tools for children with developmental central hypotonia.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


CC BY 4.0