Health, mortality, and wellness issues in adults with cerebral palsy

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2009 Oct:51 Suppl 4:24-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2009.03429.x.


For many years, children with cerebral palsy (CP) and their parents have been told that health and functional status stabilize by early adulthood. However, adults with CP report ongoing health conditions and aging and secondary conditions that are not always recognized or managed by their healthcare providers. There is a growing body of literature to better define the health, mortality, and wellness of those aging with CP. In general, adults with CP report good health, although health outcomes appear to be linked to the severity of CP and to increasing age. Studies reporting on lifespan warrant caution in interpretation because of biases in the survey and surveillance systems. It appears that lifespan of persons with CP is at or close to that of the typical population. The most commonly reported age-related changes and secondary conditions involve pain/fatigue, physical performance, and the musculoskeletal system. Not all adults have serious health problems, and many now recognize the aging process as a natural course of events. Few adults with CP engage in typical screening and health promotion activities due to a variety of barriers. There continues to be much to be learned and disseminated, in order to improve the care of adults with CP.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Aging
  • Cerebral Palsy* / complications
  • Cerebral Palsy* / mortality
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Pain / etiology
  • Quality of Life