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

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

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Departments of Pediatrics and Neurology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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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.


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.


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).


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

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