Cerebral palsy natural history, complications and prognosis

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Aditya Ganti M.B.B.S. [2]

Overview

Although the neurologic deficit is permanent and non-progressive, if cerebral palsy is left untreated it can have a dynamic effect on growth and development of the patient resulting in gait abnormalities. Cerebral palsy affects multiple systems. Common complications include contractures, hip dislocation, scoliosis, failure to thrive, dental caries (enamel dysgenesis, malocclusion, and gingival hyperplasia), increased risk of aspiration pneumonia, bronchiolitis/asthma, epilepsy, and mental retardation.

Natural History

Complications

Cerebral palsy affects multiple systems. Common complications include:[3][4][5]

Prognosis

  • Prognosis of cerebral palsy depends on the type and severity of motor impairment.[6]
  • Average life expectancy of patients with cerebral palsy is 44% of normal.
  • The strongest predictors of early mortality are immobility and impaired feeding ability.[7]
  • Retention of asymmetric and symmetric tonic neck reflex, moro reflex, neck righting reflex, and presence of lower-extremity extensor thrust response in early infancy are associated with poor prognostic factors for the development of independent walking
  • Long-term monitoring depends on the degree of involvement:[8][9]
    • Patients with a gross motor function classification system (GMFCS) level of I or II need less monitoring.
    • Patients with level III should be monitored every other year.
    • Patients with level IV or V need assessment every year during active growth.

References

  1. Ando N, Ueda S (2000). "Functional deterioration in adults with cerebral palsy". Clin Rehabil. 14 (3): 300–6. doi:10.1191/026921500672826716. PMID 10868725.
  2. Bell KJ, Ounpuu S, DeLuca PA, Romness MJ (2002). "Natural progression of gait in children with cerebral palsy". J Pediatr Orthop. 22 (5): 677–82. PMID 12198474.
  3. Peterson M (2015). "Physical inactivity and secondary health complications in cerebral palsy: chicken or egg?". Dev Med Child Neurol. 57 (2): 114–5. doi:10.1111/dmcn.12578. PMC 4863451. PMID 25195946.
  4. Foster T, Rai AI, Weller RA, Dixon TA, Weller EB (2010). "Psychiatric complications in cerebral palsy". Curr Psychiatry Rep. 12 (2): 116–21. doi:10.1007/s11920-010-0096-8. PMID 20425296.
  5. Mello SS, Marques RS, Saraiva RA (2007). "[Respiratory complications in patients with cerebral palsy undergoing general anesthesia.]". Rev Bras Anestesiol (in Portuguese). 57 (5): 455–64. PMID 19462122.
  6. O'Shea TM (2008). "Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cerebral palsy". Clin Obstet Gynecol. 51 (4): 816–28. doi:10.1097/GRF.0b013e3181870ba7. PMC 3051278. PMID 18981805.
  7. Bleck EE (1975). "Locomotor prognosis in cerebral palsy". Dev Med Child Neurol. 17 (1): 18–25. PMID 1123119.
  8. Strauss D, Brooks J, Rosenbloom L, Shavelle R (2008). "Life expectancy in cerebral palsy: an update". Dev Med Child Neurol. 50 (7): 487–93. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8749.2008.03000.x. PMID 18611196.
  9. Liptak GS (2008). "Health and well being of adults with cerebral palsy". Curr. Opin. Neurol. 21 (2): 136–42. doi:10.1097/WCO.0b013e3282f6a499. PMID 18317270.

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