Predictors for early diagnosis of cerebral palsy from national registry data

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2015 Oct;57(10):931-5. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.12760. Epub 2015 Apr 9.


Aim: As early intervention is important in cerebral palsy (CP), an early diagnosis is desirable. The aim of this study was to establish the median diagnostic age of CP and to identify predictors of an early diagnosis in a population-based cohort.

Method: Using the Danish National Cerebral Palsy Registry (NCPR), we identified 1291 children with CP (764 males, 527 females) born between 1995 and 2003. The date of diagnosis was defined as the day the parents were told that their child was spastic or had CP. We calculated the age of diagnosis and analysed the following predictors: type of CP, degree of motor disability, cerebral ultrasonography results, epilepsy, gestational age, and degree of cognitive impairment.

Results: We found the overall median corrected diagnostic age of CP to be 11 months. Early diagnosis was associated with the type of CP, presence of epilepsy, a high degree of motor disability, and abnormalities in the cerebral ultrasonography. The gestational age was not associated with the diagnostic age.

Interpretation: The median diagnostic age implies that half of the Danish children with CP will be able to enter an early intervention program before 1 year of age. A late diagnosis was associated with less severe symptoms, and gestational age did not influence the diagnostic age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / diagnosis*
  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology*
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Early Diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Registries