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J Formos Med Assoc. 1998 Apr;97(4):239-46.

Etiology, timing of insult, and neuropathology of cerebral palsy evaluated with magnetic resonance imaging.

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Department of Radiology, Kaohsiung Medical College, Taiwan.


To define the patterns of pathologic changes in cerebral palsy (CP) and to assess the etiology and time of brain damage, we reviewed the magnetic resonance images and clinical records of 86 pediatric CP patients seen over 8 years. Patients were divided into two groups, based on the gestational age at birth. The majority of CP patients (69) had spasticity. In the premature group (< 37 wk gestational age) n = 27), spastic diplegia (12 patients) and quadriplegia (8) were the major subtypes. In the term group (> or = 37 wk gestational age) ( n = 59), spastic hemiplegia (23) and quadriplegia (12) were most common. The other main clinical manifestations in the two groups were seizures (36) and mental retardation (15). Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging provided significant findings in 82 patients (95%). In the 27 patients born prematurely, MR imaging revealed periventricular leukomalacia (17), multicystic encephalomalacia (3), cortical and subcortical atrophy (4), migration disorders (2), and basal ganglia injury (1). Among the patients born at term, the MR imaging findings were more heterogeneous; they included cortical and subcortical atrophy (17), brain malformations (17), periventricular leukomalacia (6), multicystic encephalomalacia (5), porencephaly (4), hemiatrophy (3), delayed myelination (3), and none (4). MR imaging alone could define the time of brain insults in 73 of our 86 CP patients. Combined with clinical histories, MR imaging could help assess the time of insult in 93% of patients. The brain insults occurred prenatally in 34 of our patients, perinatally in 37, and postnatally in eight. The time of insult could not be determined in six patients. In the premature patients, the insult occurred most frequently perinatally (74%), whereas in the term group it occurred most frequently prenatally (54%). MR imaging was found to be very helpful in the evaluation of the various neuropathologic changes in CP, in the depiction of the etiology, and in the determination of the time of brain injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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