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Dev Med Child Neurol. 2019 Jul 4. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.14309. [Epub ahead of print]

Losing a diagnosis of cerebral palsy: a comparison of variables at 2 and 5 years.

Author information

Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Canadian Cerebral Palsy Registry, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Department of Pediatrics, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Department of Neurology & Neurosurgery, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


in English, Portuguese, Spanish


This study aims to identify characteristics at 2 years of age that differ between children with confirmed cerebral palsy (CP) and a non-CP diagnosis by 5 years of age.


This was a retrospective cohort analysis. A CP diagnosis may be considered a 'probable' diagnosis at 2 years, which is often 'confirmed' at 4 or 5 years, particularly in the context of CP registries. A total of 1683 children with a diagnosis of CP or probable CP at 2 years of age were identified from the Canadian Cerebral Palsy Registry, of whom 48 received a non-CP diagnosis at 5 years ('non-confirmed CP'). Perinatal adversity, preterm birth status, Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) level, presence of comorbidities, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings, and initial CP motor type were compared between the two groups by univariate and logistic regression analyses.


χ2 analysis and multivariate analysis both confirmed that children with a non-CP diagnosis by 5 years of age were more likely to have a normal MRI (χ2 odds ratio [OR]=7.8, 95% confidence interval [CI]=3.8-16.1; OR=5.4, 95% CI=2.4-12.5), ataxic-hypotonic (χ2 OR=10.1, 95% CI=4.9-21.2; OR=6.1, 95% CI=2.2-16.2) or dyskinetic CP (χ2 OR=2.7, 95% CI=1.2-5.9; OR=2.9, 95% CI=1.0-7.6), born at term (χ2 OR=3.7, 95% CI=1.7-8.0; OR=3.6, 95% CI=1.0-12.1), and lack perinatal adversity (χ2 OR=4.1, 95% CI=1.6-10.7; OR=3.4, 95% CI=1.0-11.7).


Normal MRI, ataxic-hypotonic or dyskinetic CP, lack of perinatal adversity, and term birth are associated with a higher odds of non-CP diagnosis by 5 years of age, thus potentially enhancing diagnostic work-up.


Normal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 2 years was associated with a non-cerebral palsy (CP) diagnosis by 5 years. Diagnosis of ataxic-hypotonic or dyskinetic CP motor subtype at 2 years was associated with a non-CP diagnosis by 5 years. Perinatal adversity and preterm birth were rarer with a non-CP diagnosis by 5 years.


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