Regional variation in survival of people with cerebral palsy in the United Kingdom

Pediatrics. 2005 Dec;116(6):1383-90. doi: 10.1542/peds.2005-0259.


Objectives: Regional variation in survival of people who have cerebral palsy (CP) has been observed but not previously investigated in detail. In addition to true differences, variations in the methods and definitions used, completeness of ascertainment, and the role of potential confounding factors all have been proposed as possible explanations for these observed variations. Our aim was to assess the regional differences in survival of young people with CP and the effect on survival of socioeconomic differences after adjustment for variations in level of impairment and birth characteristics.

Methods: Survival patterns for young people with CP were calculated using information from a collaborative database. This database consisted of registrations of children who were born with CP in 5 geographically defined areas in the United Kingdom between 1980 and 1996. Notification of subsequent deaths was provided by the relevant births and death register. We consider the effects of birth characteristics, socioeconomic status, and severity of CP on survival.

Results: There were 325 deaths among the 4007 cases of CP identified. The proportion of affected children who survived to 20 years of age ranged from 85% (Mersey-side and Cheshire, male individuals) to 94% (North of England, male individuals). Multivariate modeling showed that the severity of impairment had the biggest impact on survival and that additional contributions were made by birth weight and socioeconomic status but that after such adjustments regional differences were no longer significant.

Conclusions: The number and the severity of impairments are the best predictors of survival in young people with CP. After adjustment for the number of impairments, children who were born in affluent areas and had a low birth weight have an increased risk for death over those who were born with a normal birth weight. The same does not hold, however, for those who were born in deprived areas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Birth Weight
  • Cerebral Palsy / mortality*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Registries
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology