Speech, Cognitive, and Behavioral Outcomes in Nonsyndromic Craniosynostosis

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Background:The neuropsychological morbidity of nonsyndromic craniosynostosis is incompletely understood. The purpose of this study was to establish the prevalence of speech-language, cognitive, and behavioral abnormalities in this population and to stratify the findings on the basis of the affected suture and age of diagnosis with speech-language or psychological abnormalities.Methods:Charts of all patients with nonsyndromic craniosynostosis evaluated between 1978 and 2000 were reviewed, noting diagnoses of speech-language, cognitive, or behavioral abnormalities. Findings were statistically analyzed for variance with regard to affected suture and diagnosis of abnormalities.Results:Two hundred fourteen patients with nonsyndromic craniosynostosis had documented follow-up evaluations with an average age of 6 years 4 months at last visit. Speech, cognitive, and/or behavioral abnormalities were manifest in 49 percent of the patients with specific rates for each suture as follows: right unilateral coronal, 61 percent; bilateral coronal, 55 percent; multiple, 47 percent; metopic, 57 percent; left unilateral coronal, 52 percent; lambdoid, 44 percent; and sagittal, 39 percent. This prevalence of abnormalities was a statistically significant increase from the general population. Logistic regression demonstrated that as patient age increased, the percentage of abnormal diagnoses also increased.Conclusions:Nonsyndromic craniosynostosis is often associated with cognitive, speech, and/or behavioral abnormalities. The etiopathology of this association is unknown. Furthermore, the proportion of children diagnosed with cognitive and behavioral dysfunction increases with age. Therefore, longitudinal cognitive, behavioral, and speech assessment and treatment are integral to the care of these patients.

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