Objectives: To investigate the association between cerebral palsy (CP) and congenital abnormalities among children with very low, low, and normal birth weight.
Study design: A population-based, case-control study among the cohort of 155,636 live births delivered between 1983 and 1985 in 4 California counties. Children with moderate or severe congenital CP (n = 192) diagnosed by age 3 were identified from 2 California State service agencies, and 551 control children were randomly sampled from birth certificate files. Information on congenital abnormalities diagnosed by the age of 1 year was obtained from the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program registry. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% CIs were calculated to estimate risk for CP associated with congenital abnormalities.
Results: Among singletons, congenital abnormalities were present in 33 (19.2%) children with CP and 21 (4.3%) control children (OR = 5.2, 95% CI 2.8-9.7). For each birth weight group, the percent of children with congenital abnormalities among children with CP exceeded that among control children. Structural abnormalities of the central nervous system were more common among children with CP (OR = 16.2, 95% CI 5.8-49.3) than control children. In contrast, the percent of children with non-central nervous system abnormalities only was similar between case patients and control subjects.
Conclusion: These findings provide further evidence that factors operating in the prenatal period contribute significantly to the etiology of CP.