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Europa Medicophysica 2005 September;41(3):239-42

Copyright © 2005 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Are some cases of spina bifida combined with cerebral palsy? A study of 28 cases

Ozaras N. 1, Yalcin S. 2, Ofluoǧlu D. 1, Gureri B. 1, Cabukoǧlu C. 2, 3, Erol B. 2

1 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Marmara University School of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey 2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology Marmara University School of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey 3 Private Hospital of Pendik Sifa, Istanbul, Turkey


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Aim. This study is a description of a group of children with spina bifida who present with neurological impairments resembling cerebral palsy. Spina bifida is a complex congenital spinal anomaly causing paraparesis. Some children with spina bifida have neurological impairments, which fit into the definition of cerebral palsy. Extensive spasticity discordant with the level of the spina bifida lesion, upper extremity dysfunction and cognitive impairment are suggestive of concomitant cerebral palsy in these cases. The probable etiology for this problem may be neglected hydrocephalus, meningitis or other brain lesions common in spina bifida.
Methods. In this study we have reviewed our cohort of 365 patients and found 28 cases with the abovementioned findings. Main evaluation parameters used were the Ashworth scale for spasticity, Green and Banks modified classification for hand function, cognitive function, mental status, ambulation and lesion level.
Results. Twenty-eight out of 365 children with spina bifida had neurological impairments resembling cerebral palsy. Their mean age was 59.9±41.3 (range, 16.8-31.2) months. Seventy percent of the patients were nonambulatory and therapeutic ambulation only was present in 30% of patients. Seventy percent of the children had spasticity of Ashworth grade 2 or higher. Upper extremity dysfunction, and cognitive impairment were also observed in 80% of the patients involved in this study. The spinal lesion was 60% thoracal and 20% upper lumbar, and none of the cases had signs of spinal tethering.
Conclusion. We believe that this group of children with spina bifida may be regarded as having concomitant cerebral palsy. This fact implies that the management of this group of patients having mixed findings must be changed accordingly.

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