Author(s): Andersen GL, Sellier E, Cans C, Romundstad P, De La Cruz J
AIM: The aim of this study was to describe trends in prevalence, subtypes, and severity among children with cerebral palsy (CP) born moderately preterm (MPT; (gestational age 32-36 wks) or at moderately low birthweight (MLBW; 1500-2499 g) in Europe. METHOD: We conducted trend analyses of data from 903 children with CP born between 1980 and 1998 who were MPT (gestational age 32-36 wks), taken from 11 registers in the Surveillance of Cerebral Palsy in Europe database and from 1835 children with CP who were born at moderately low birthweight (1500-2499 g), taken from 14 registers in the Surveillance of Cerebral Palsy in Europe database. RESULTS: The overall annual prevalence of CP in children born MPT varied between 12.2 (95% confidence interval [CI] 8.5-17.1) per 1000 live births in 1983 and 4.5 (95% CI 3.2-6.3) per 1000 in 1997. There was a significant decrease in the prevalence over time adjusted for register, with an annual change in prevalence of -3% (95% CI -5 to -2%). This was due to a decrease in the prevalence of bilateral spastic CP (annual change -5%; 95% CI -7 to -3%). INTERPRETATION: There was a trend towards a decrease in the prevalence of CP among children born MPT, but no difference in prevalence among children born at MLBW. Both results may represent an improvement in perinatal and neonatal care.