Comorbidities and clinical determinants of outcome in children with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2008 Mar;50(3):216-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2008.02033.x. Epub 2008 Feb 1.


The objective of this study was to determine the major comorbidities in patients with spastic quadriplegic (SQ) cerebral palsy (CP) and their possible clinical associations. Medical records of patients with SQ CP from a pediatric neurology practice over a 14-year period were retrospectively and systematically reviewed. Variables examined included demographics, prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal risk factors. Comorbidities documented included those involving hearing, vision, feeding status, and epilepsy. Binomial logistic regression analyses were applied to identify clinical associations of the comorbidities. Ninety-two children were included in this study of whom 39 were born preterm. Mean age of presentation was 2 months (SD 3.5) and males comprised 60% of the group. A total of 57% had a Gross Motor Function Classification Score (GMFCS) of Level IV or V. The four documented comorbidities occurred at a high frequency: 66 out of 83 children (80%) had a visual impairment with 13 (21%) having a substantial impairment; 37 out of 86 children (40%) had a hearing deficit; 43 out of 92 children (47%) had epilepsy; and 29 (33%) required assisted feeding. A GMFCS Level of IV or V and documented microcephaly was associated with the need for assisted feeding (odds ratio [OR] 8.1; 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.1-29.8, p=0.002 and OR 4.9, 95% CI 1.7-14.8, p=0.004 respectively). Epilepsy was associated with the occurrence of neonatal encephalopathy (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.0-55; p=0.05), microcephaly (OR 4.9, 95% CI 1.6-14.8; p=0.004), periventricular leukomalacia (OR 7.4, 95% CI 1.6-35.0; p=0.012), and perinatal asphyxia (OR 3.6, 95% CI 1.5-8.9; p=0.005). There is a high frequency of comorbidity in the setting of SQ CP which can impact on quality of life and burdens of care. Few clinical associations of this burden appear, thus necessitating systematic programmatic follow-up of these children to facilitate early identification and intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / epidemiology*
  • Cerebral Palsy* / diagnosis
  • Cerebral Palsy* / epidemiology
  • Cerebral Palsy* / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases
  • Infant, Premature
  • Leukomalacia, Periventricular / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Microcephaly / epidemiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Vision Disorders / epidemiology*