Gross Motor Function Classification System and outcome tools for assessing ambulatory cerebral palsy: a multicenter study

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2004 May;46(5):311-9. doi: 10.1017/s0012162204000519.


The relationships between different levels of severity of ambulatory cerebral palsy, defined by the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS), and several pediatric outcome instruments were examined. Data from the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM), Pediatric Orthopaedic Data Collection Instrument (PODCI), temporal-spatial gait parameters, and oxygen cost were collected from six sites. The sample size for each assessment tool ranged from 226 to 1047 participants. There were significant differences among GMFCS levels I, II, and III for many of the outcome tools assessed in this study. Strong correlations were seen between GMFCS level and each of the GMFM sections D and E scores, the PODCI measures of Transfer and Mobility, and Sports and Physical Function, Gait Velocity, and Oxygen Cost. Correlations among tools demonstrated that the GMFM sections D and E scores correlated with the largest number of other tools. Logistic regression showed GMFM section E score to be a significant predictor of GMFCS level. GMFM section E score can be used to predict GMFCS level relatively accurately (76.6%). Study data indicate that the assessed outcome tools can distinguish between children with different GMFCS levels. This study establishes justification for using the GMFCS as a classification system in clinical studies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Motor Skills Disorders / classification*
  • Motor Skills Disorders / etiology
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index