Definition Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders of motion and posture caused by a brain insult or injury occurring before the age of 2-years, the period of early cerebral development. While the definitive lesion responsible for the disorder is static, the clinical course of these patients is often progressive.
Incidence of CP
Improvements in prenatal and perinatal care have minimized CNS injury that leads to CP. However, neonatal ICUs have increased survival of children with brain injuries resulting in a relatively constant incidence of the disorder of approximately 2- 3:1000 live births. While the risk of the disorder is high in low birthweight neonates, the prevalence remains high in infants born at term. Specific abnormal findings on electronic monitoring of the fetal heart rate are also associated with an increased risk of cerebral palsy. Patients with cerebral palsy have a 30-year survival rate of approximately 87%. Approximately 500,000 children and adults of all ages have cerebral palsy.
March of Dimes Defects Foundation. Cerebral palsy. (Accessed January 2001).
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Cerebral palsy: hope through research. (Accessed January 2001).
Nelson KB, Dambrosia JM, Ting TY, et al. Uncertain value of electronic fetal monitoring in predicting cerebral palsy. N Engl J Med 1996;334:613-8.