Aim: To use the information from a population-based cerebral palsy register to describe post-neonatally acquired cerebral palsy, to determine trends over time and relate any aetiological trends to community preventative measures.
Methods: Data on cases of post-neonatally acquired cerebral palsy, between the birth years 1970 and 1999, were generated from the Victorian Cerebral Palsy Register. Distributions, rates and trends over time were calculated for the entire cohort and for subgroups according to gender, age at acquisition, aetiology, gestation at delivery, birthweight, maternal age at delivery and parity.
Results: 339 cases were found with post-neonatally acquired cerebral palsy, accounting for 10.7% of all cerebral palsy and giving an overall rate of 1.98/10 000 live births. There was a statistically significant fall in the overall rate of post-neonatally acquired cerebral palsy (P = 0.001) over the study period. Significant falls were seen in post-neonatal cerebral palsy due to infection, traumatic head injury and hypoxia and other acute encephalopathies, but not cerebrovascular accidents.
Conclusion: A large proportion of post-neonatally acquired cerebral palsy is preventable. While the reported decline in cases in Victoria is encouraging, it will be important to monitor these trends over time, and continue public health measures to further reduce preventable causes.