Decreasing prevalence and severity of cerebral palsy in Norway among children born 1999 to 2010 concomitant with improvements in perinatal health
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEuropean journal of paediatric neurology. 2018, 22 (5), 814-821. 10.1016/j.ejpn.2018.05.001
Background The aim of our study was to explore if the prevalence and clinical characteristics of cerebral palsy (CP), concomitant with perinatal health indicators in the general population, remained unchanged for children born in Norway between 1999 and 2010. Methods This national multi-register cohort study included 711 174 children recorded in the Medical Birth Registry of Norway. Among these, 707 916 were born alive, and 1664 had a validated diagnosis of CP recorded in the Cerebral Palsy Registry of Norway and/or the Norwegian Patient Registry. Prevalence per 1000 live births as a function of birth year was analyzed using logistic regression with fractional polynomials to allow for non-linear trends. Chi-square statistics were used to estimate trends in proportions of clinical characteristics. Results The prevalence of CP in Norway decreased from 2.62 per 1000 live births in 1999 to 1.89 in 2010. The reduction was most evident among children with bilateral CP, in particular those with diplegia. During the study period, the proportions of children with severe motor impairments, epilepsy, intellectual impairment and reduced speech also decreased. At the same time, perinatal mortality has decreased in Norway, along with the proportion of women with preeclampsia, children born preterm or as a multiple. Conclusion We observed a significant decrease in the prevalence and severity of CP subtypes and associated impairments among children with CP in Norway. This coincided with improvements in perinatal health indicators in the general population. These improvements are most likely explained by advancements in obstetric and neonatal care.