Motor impairments and activity limitations in children with spastic cerebral palsy: A Dutch population-based study
Marc Wichers, Sander Hilberink, Marij Roebroeck, Onno van Nieuwenhuizen, Henk Stam
Objective: To determine the prevalence of motor impairments and activity limitations and their inter-relationships in Dutch children with spastic cerebral palsy.
Patients and methods: In a population-based survey 119 children, age range 6–19 years, with spastic cerebral palsy were examined. Anthropometry, muscle tone, abnormal posture, joint range of motion, major orthopaedic impairments and gross motor functioning and manual ability were assessed or classified, in addition to limitations in mobility and self-care activities. Spearman’s correlation coefficients, bivariate post hoc analyses and univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used.
Results: Children with spastic cerebral palsy had a lower body height and weight compared with typically developing peers. Forty percent had no range of motion deficits. Hip dislocations were rarely encountered. Motor impairments were associated with gross motor functioning and manual ability levels. Close to sixty-five percent walked independently. Children with diplegia and tetraplegia differed in activity limitations. Motor impairments and limitations in mobility and self-care activities were only modestly related in multivariate analyses.
Conclusion: Distribution of cerebral palsy-related characteristics is consistent with that found in representative studies of other countries. The distinction between diplegia and tetraplegia is relevant from an activity point of view. The child’s activity limitations are not a mirror of the motor impairments, which suggests multifactorial influences. An activity-oriented rehabilitation approach goes beyond treating specific impairments.
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