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Dev Med Child Neurol. 2012 Jul;54(7):640-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2012.04274.x. Epub 2012 Mar 28.

Characteristics of children with cerebral palsy in the ORACLE children study.

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1
Institute for Women's Health, University College London, London, UK. n.marlow@ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

AIMS:

We have identified an excess of children with cerebral palsy (CP) born to women who received antibiotic treatment for spontaneous preterm labour (SPL). This nested study investigated the profile of impairment among children with CP in the ORACLE Children Study (OCS), and contrasted outcomes with those in 4Child, a population CP registry.

METHOD:

The study group comprised 167 children aged from 7 to 10 years (100 males, 67 females) with CP from the OCS, who were subdivided into a preterm rupture of membranes (PROM) group (87 children) and an SPL group (80 children). The OCS sought follow-up information regarding the health and behaviour of surviving children at 7 years of age in the UK using a parent-report postal questionnaire. Families provided further information to define wider aspects of function and were offered a physiotherapy assessment.

RESULTS:

The prevalence of CP was higher among children in the OCS than among those in 4Child (standardized morbidity ratios: SPL group, 3.12 [95% confidence interval {CI} 2.47-3.87); PROM group: 1.56 (CI 1.24-1.92)]. The proportion of children with CP born after 32 weeks of gestation was higher in in the SPL group (73%) than in the PROM group (30%); the prevalence of CP was higher in the SPL group than in the PROM group or 4Child. Children with CP in the OCS tended to have similar distributions of neuroimpairment as children in 4Child, but motor impairment and associated vision and hearing problems were found to be less severe.

INTERPRETATION:

The pattern of CP in both the PROM and the SPL groups was similar, but functional outcomes were milder, compared with children with CP in the general population. However, in these groups the risk of CP was increased independently of gestational age. This is consistent with findings that ongoing inflammatory damage can cause CP.

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