An update on the prevalence of cerebral palsy: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2013 Jun;55(6):509-19. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.12080. Epub 2013 Jan 24.


Aims: The aim of this study was to provide a comprehensive update on (1) the overall prevalence of cerebral palsy (CP); (2) the prevalence of CP in relation to birthweight; and (3) the prevalence of CP in relation to gestational age.

Method: A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted and reported, based on the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses) statement. Population-based studies on the prevalence of CP in children born in 1985 or after were selected. Statistical analysis was carried out using computer package R, version 2.14.

Results: A total of 49 studies were selected for this review. The pooled overall prevalence of CP was 2.11 per 1000 live births (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.98-2.25). The prevalence of CP stratified by gestational age group showed the highest pooled prevalence to be in children weighing 1000 to 1499g at birth (59.18 per 1000 live births; 95% CI 53.06-66.01), although there was no significant difference on pairwise meta-regression with children weighing less than 1000g. The prevalence of CP expressed by gestational age was highest in children born before 28 weeks' gestation (111.80 per 1000 live births; 95% CI 69.53-179.78; p<0.0327).

Interpretation: The overall prevalence of CP has remained constant in recent years despite increased survival of at-risk preterm infants.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology*
  • Cerebral Palsy / mortality
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Gestational Age
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Prevalence
  • Research Design
  • Risk Factors
  • Selection Bias