Fractures in Patients With Cerebral Palsy


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Abstract

Fractures in children with cerebral palsy (CP) constitute a common clinical problem. The purpose of this retrospective study is to analyze the demographics, identify risk factors, and delineate guidelines for treatment in 156 children with CP who were treated for fractures. To identify changes in demographics, children treated before 1992 (56 patients) were compared with those treated from 1992 to 2000. The latter group of children was compared with an age- and gender-matched group of CP children without fractures. Ambulatory status, the presence of contractures, nutritional status, seizure medication, the type of treatment received, final outcomes, and complications were recorded and statistically analyzed. The mean age at the time of the first fracture was 10 years. Sixty-six percent of patients had spastic quadriplegia, of whom 83% were nonambulatory. Eighty-two percent of fractures occurred in the lower limbs. Forty-eight percent were delayed in diagnosis with no cause determined. Children treated after 1992 had higher incidence of multiple fractures, lower incidence contractures, and a younger age at first fracture. This group showed a statistically significant difference for anticonvulsant therapy (P = 0.001), CP pattern (P = 0.005), ambulatory status (P = 0.001), and osteopenia (P = 0.001) when compared with the group of CP patients without fractures. Eighty percent of fractures were treated with a soft bulky dressing. Complications occurred in 17% of patients. The greatest risk factor for fracture is the nonambulatory CP child on anticonvulsant therapy. These risk factors seem to have increased, resulting in a higher prevalence of low energy fractures. Future research must focus on the underlying mechanisms and prevention of this condition.

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