Fractures in children with cerebral palsy: a total population study.

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AIM: To analyse factors associated with fractures in children with cerebral palsy (CP) in different levels of Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS). METHOD: This was an epidemiological retrospective study of a total population of 536 children (214 females, 322 males) with CP born between 1990 and 2005. CP type was unilateral spastic (n=159), bilateral spastic (n=225), ataxic (n=60), dyskinetic (n=80), and mixed type (n=12); 384 children were in Gross Motor Function Classification Scale (GMFCS) levels I-III and 152 children were in GMFCS levels IV-V. Data were collected for a 9-year period on sex, CP-type, GMFCS level, gastrostomy, height, weight, the use of a standing device, antiepileptic drug (AED) therapy, and fractures. RESULTS: The risk of fracture in the total population of children with CP was similar to that for typically developing children. The risk for fractures of those in GMFCS levels I-III was not significantly associated with any of the studied risk factors. The risk of fractures for those in GMFCS levels IV-V on AED therapy was a twofold increase (p=0.004). The risk for fractures without trauma in children with stunted growth (height for age <-3 SD) and those who did not use standing devices was significantly increased: adjusted incidence rate ratio (AIRR) 4.16 (p=0.011) and 3.66 (p=0.010) respectively. Results regarding gastrostomy feeding for those in GMFCS levels IV-V were conflicting: a gastrostomy was associated with a reduced risk of fractures with trauma, but with increased risk of fractures without trauma (AIRR 0.10, p=0.003 and 4.36, p=0.012) respectively. INTERPRETATION: Children in GMFCS levels I-III had a similar incidence and pattern for fractures as normally developing children. Those in GMFCS levels IV-V had stunted growth, often a sign of longstanding undernourishment, and were associated with an increased risk of fractures. Children using standing devices had a fourfold reduction of fractures without trauma. Regular loading exercises and early adequate nutritional intake could prevent fractures in severe CP.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pediatrics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)821-826
JournalDevelopmental Medicine & Child Neurology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch