Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of botulinum toxin type A injections in reducing upper limb muscular spasticity and in improving motor function in children with cerebral palsy.
Design: Fifteen children with spastic cerebral palsy who were undergoing regular physical and occupational therapy were enrolled. Botulinum toxin type A injections in clinically indicated target muscle groups were administered after the children had received 3 mo of therapy. A follow-up study was carried out at 6 wk and 12 wk, respectively, after the botulinum toxin type A injections. The main outcome measurements included the Modified Ashworth Scale, the upper limb Physician's Rating Scale, the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, and the self-care domain of the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory.
Results: The reduction of spasticity in the treated muscle groups differed significantly between the control period and both study periods. Improvements on the Physician's Rating Scale score during the study period also differed significantly as compared with improvements during the control period. There was a significant difference in the improvement of fine motor skills, as measured with Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, between the control period and both study periods. Improvements in self-care capability differed significantly between the control period and 12 wk after botulinum toxin type A treatment, but not between the control period and at 6 wk after treatment. Muscle strength of grasp and pinch did not differ significantly between the control and the study period. Distribution of body parts involvement, disease severity, and function in daily living activities had no significant correlation with functional improvement after the treatment.
Conclusions: Our findings support the premise that botulinum toxin type A injections are effective in reducing upper limb spasticity and in improving movement pattern and fine motor function of patients with spastic cerebral palsy. A reduction in caregivers' burden and improved quality of life were demonstrated through the study period.