Preterm children with suspected cerebral palsy at 19 months corrected age in the Canadian neonatal follow-up network Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: The ability to definitively diagnose cerebral palsy (CP) at 18-24 months is unknown. AIMS: To describe very preterm children who, at 19 months, have suspected CP defined as neither having a definitive diagnosis of CP nor no CP and compare them with children with and without CP. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Longitudinal national cohort study of births <29 weeks' gestation with linked Canadian Neonatal Network and Canadian Neonatal Follow-up Network data with 19 month assessments and 3-year questionnaires (Ages and Stages-3 and Health Status Classification System-Preschool). CP, no CP and suspected CP groups, classified at 19 months, were compared using chi square and ANOVA. RESULTS: Of 3086 survivors, 2280 had complete 19-month corrected age (CA) and 1261 had 3-year CA data. Suspected CP (3.6%), CP (6.4%) and no CP (90%) groups differed (p < 0.05) in birth weight, gestational age, complications of prematurity and NICU length of stay. Children with suspected CP had Bayley-III motor, cognitive and language composite scores at 18 months midway between CP and no CP, had the lowest sensory impairment rates and highest hospital readmission rates. At 3 years, gross motor, fine motor, problem-solving, communication and social skill abilities differed: abnormal outcomes were intermediate for children with suspected CP (p < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: CP incidence varied from 6.4% to 10% with exclusion or inclusion of children with suspected CP. Children with suspected CP have characteristics mostly midway between those with and without CP and developmental concerns persist to 3 years and require surveillance beyond 19 months.


  • Mukerji, Amit
  • Synnes, Anne
  • Gillone, Jenna
  • Majnemer, Annette
  • Lodha, Abhay
  • Creighton, Dianne
  • Moddemann, Diane
  • Shah, Prakesh S

publication date

  • September 2019