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1.  Development of spasticity with age in a total population of children with cerebral palsy 
Background
The development of spasticity with age in children with cerebral palsy (CP) has, to our knowledge, not been studied before. In 1994, a register and a health care program for children with CP in southern Sweden were initiated. In the programme the child's muscle tone according to the modified Ashworth scale is measured twice a year until six years of age, then once a year. We have used this data to analyse the development of spasticity with age in a total population of children with cerebral palsy.
Methods
All measurements of muscle tone in the gastrocnemius-soleus muscle in all children with CP from 0 to 15 years during the period 1995–2006 were analysed. The CP subtypes were classified according to the Surveillance of Cerebral Palsy in Europe network system. Using these criteria, the study was based on 6218 examinations in 547 children. For the statistical analysis the Ashworth scale was dichotomized. The levels 0–1 were gathered in one category and levels 2–4 in the other. The pattern of development with age was evaluated using piecewise logistic regression in combination with Akaike's An Information Criterion.
Results
In the total sample the degree of muscle tone increased up to 4 years of age. After 4 years of age the muscle tone decreased each year up to 12 years of age. A similar development was seen when excluding the children operated with selective dorsal rhizotomy, intrathecal baclofen pump or tendo Achilles lengthening. At 4 years of age about 47% of the children had spasticity in their gastro-soleus muscle graded as Ashworth 2–4. After 12 years of age 23% of the children had that level of spasticity. The CP subtypes spastic bilateral and spastic unilateral CP showed the same pattern as the total sample. Children with dyskinetic type of CP showed an increasing muscle tone up to age 6, followed by a decreasing pattern up to age 15.
Conclusion
In children with CP, the muscle tone as measured with the Ashworth scale increases up to 4 years of age and then decreases up to 12 years of age. The same tendency is seen in all spastic subtypes. The findings may have implications both for clinical judgement and for research studies on spasticity treatment.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-9-150
PMCID: PMC2644696  PMID: 18990204
2.  Characteristics of children with hip displacement in cerebral palsy 
Background
Hip dislocation in children with cerebral palsy (CP) is a common and severe problem. The dislocation can be avoided, by screening and preventive treatment of children with hips at risk. The aim of this study was to analyse the characteristics of children with CP who develop hip displacement, in order to optimise a hip surveillance programme.
Methods
In a total population of children with CP a standardised clinical and radiological follow-up of the hips was carried out as a part of a hip prevention programme. The present study is based on 212 children followed until 9–16 years of age.
Results
Of the 212 children, 38 (18%) developed displacement with Migration Percentage (MP) >40% and further 19 (9%) MP between 33 and 39%. Mean age at first registration of hip displacement was 4 years, but some hips showed MP > 40% already at two years of age. The passive range of hip motion at the time of first registration of hip displacement did not differ significantly from the findings in hips without displacement.
The risk of hip displacement varied according to CP-subtype, from 0% in children with pure ataxia to 79% in children with spastic tetraplegia. The risk of displacement (MP > 40%) was directly related to the level of gross motor function, classified according to the gross motor function classification system, GMFCS, from 0% in children in GMFCS level I to 64% in GMFCS level V.
Conclusion
Hip displacement in CP often occurs already at 2–3 years of age. Range of motion is a poor indicator of hips at risk. Thus early identification and early radiographic examination of children at risk is of great importance. The risk of hip displacement varies according to both CP-subtype and GMFCS. It is sometimes not possible to determine subtype before 4 years of age, and at present several definitions and classification systems are used. GMFCS is valid and reliable from 2 years of age, and it is internationally accepted.
We recommend a hip surveillance programme for children with CP with radiographic examinations based on the child's age and GMFCS level.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-8-101
PMCID: PMC2194677  PMID: 17963501
3.  Prevalence of hip dislocation among children with cerebral palsy in regions with and without a surveillance programme: a cross sectional study in Sweden and Norway 
Background
Hip dislocation is a serious complication among children with cerebral palsy (CP). The aim of this study was to compare the prevalence of hip dislocation among children with CP in an area providing regular care with an area providing hip surveillance services.
Methods
This is a cross-sectional study in seven Norwegian counties providing regular care and one Swedish healthcare region where a hip surveillance programme was introduced in 1994. Data were provided by the Norwegian Cerebral Palsy Register and the CP Register in Southern Sweden. Children born 1996 - 2003 with moderate to severe CP, defined as Gross Motor Classification System (GMFCS) levels III - V, were included. In all, 119 Norwegian and 136 Swedish children fulfilled the criteria. In Norway, data on hip operations and radiographs of the hips were collected from medical records, while these data are collected routinely in the Swedish register. The hip migration percentage was measured on the recent radiographs. Hip dislocation was defined as a migration percent of 100%.
Results
The proportion of children at GMFCS levels III - V was 34% in the Norwegian and 38% in the Swedish population. In the Norwegian population, hip dislocation was diagnosed in 18 children (15.1%; CI: 9.8 - 22.6) compared with only one child (0.7%; 95% CI: 0.01 - 4.0) in Southern Sweden (p = < 0.001). Hip surgery was performed in 53 (44.5%) of the Norwegian children and in 43 (32%) of the Swedish children (p = 0.03). The total number of hip operations was 65 in Norway and 63 in Sweden. Norwegian children were first operated at a mean age of 7.6 years (SD: 2.9) compared with 5.7 years (SD: 2.3) in Sweden (p = 0.001).
Conclusions
The surveillance programme reduced the number of hip dislocations and the proportion of children undergoing hip surgery was lower. However, with the surveillance programme the first operation was performed at a younger age. Our results strongly support the effectiveness of a specifically designed follow-up programme for the prevention of hip dislocation in children with CP.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-12-284
PMCID: PMC3282658  PMID: 22177473
4.  Sitting and standing performance in a total population of children with cerebral palsy: a cross-sectional study 
Background
Knowledge of sitting and standing performance in a total population of children with cerebral palsy (CP) is of interest for health care planning and for prediction of future ability in the individual child. In 1994, a register and a health care programme for children with CP in southern Sweden was initiated. In the programme information on how the child usually sits, stands, stands up and sits down, together with use of support or assistive devices, is recorded annually.
Methods
A cross-sectional study was performed, analysing the most recent report of all children with CP born 1990-2005 and living in southern Sweden during 2008. All 562 children (326 boys, 236 girls) aged 3-18 years were included in the study. The degree of independence, use of support or assistive devices to sit, stand, stand up and sit down was analysed in relation to the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS), CP subtype and age.
Result
A majority of the children used standard chairs (57%), could stand independently (62%) and could stand up (62%) and sit down (63%) without external support. Adaptive seating was used by 42%, external support to stand was used by 31%, to stand up by 19%, and to sit down by 18%. The use of adaptive seating and assistive devices increased with GMFCS levels (p < 0.001) and there was a difference between CP subtypes (p < 0.001). The use of support was more frequent in preschool children aged 3-6 (p < 0.001).
Conclusion
About 60% of children with CP, aged 3-18, use standard chairs, stand, stand up, and sit down without external support. Adding those using adaptive seating and external support, 99% of the children could sit, 96% could stand and 81% could stand up from a sitting position and 81% could sit down from a standing position. The GMFCS classification system is a good predictor of sitting and standing performance.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-131
PMCID: PMC2908562  PMID: 20573201
5.  Association between gross motor function (GMFCS) and manual ability (MACS) in children with cerebral palsy. A population-based study of 359 children 
Background
The Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) has become an important tool to describe motor function in children with Cerebral Palsy (CP). The Manual Ability Classification System (MACS) was developed recently as a corresponding classification of manual ability. The aim of this study was to describe the association between gross motor function and manual ability in a total population of children with cerebral palsy.
Methods
365 children, born 1992 to 2001, who were registered in a population-based health care programme (CPUP) for children with CP living in the south of Sweden were included in the study. GMFCS was evaluated by the child's physiotherapist and MACS by the occupational therapist. CP diagnosis and subtype were determined by the neuropaediatrician at or after the age of four.
Results
GMFCS levels were available in all 365 children, MACS levels in 359 (98%). There was a poor overall correlation between gross motor function and manual ability. However, different associations between gross motor function and manual ability were found in the different diagnostic subtypes. Children with spastic hemiplegia generally had a lower level of manual ability than gross motor function (p < 0.001). The reverse association was generally found in children with spastic diplegia (p < 0.001). Children with dyskinetic CP had large limitations in both gross motor function and manual ability, with no significant discrepancy between GMFCS and MACS levels.
Conclusion
Gross motor function and manual ability are often discrepant in children with CP, and the patterns seem to vary across the different subgroups based on the predominant neurological findings. To give a complete clinical picture when evaluating these children, both aspects have to be described. The GMFCS and the MACS seem to work well in this context and seem very useful in population-based studies, in health care registers for children with CP, and in clinical practice.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-8-50
PMCID: PMC1919364  PMID: 17584944
6.  Validity and responsiveness of the Clubfoot Assessment Protocol (CAP). A methodological study 
Background
The Clubfoot Assessment Protocol (CAP) is a multi dimensional instrument designed for longitudinal follow up of the clubfoot deformity during growth. Item reliability has shown to be sufficient. In this article the CAP's validity and responsiveness is studied using the Dimeglio classification scoring as a gold standard.
Methods
Thirty-two children with 45 congenital clubfeet were assessed prospectively and consecutively at ages of new-born, one, two, four months and two years of age.
For convergent/divergent construct validity the Spearman's correlation coefficients were calculated. Discriminate validity was evaluated by studying the scores in bilateral clubfeet. The floor-ceiling effects at baseline (untreated clubfeet) and at two years of age (treated clubfeet) were evaluated. Responsiveness was evaluated by using effect sizes (ES) and by calculating if significant changes (Wilcoxons signed test) had occurred between the different measurement occasions.
Results
High to moderate significant correlation were found between CAP mobility I and morphology and the Dimeglio scores (rs = 0.77 and 0.44 respectively). Low correlation was found between CAP muscle function, mobility II and motion quality and the Dimeglio scoring system (rs = 0.20, 0.09 and 0.06 respectively). Of 13 children with bilateral clubfeet, 11 showed different CAP mobility I scores between right and left foot at baseline (untreated) compared with 5 with the Dimeglio score. At the other assessment occasions the CAP mobility I continued to show higher discrimination ability than the Dimeglio. No floor effects and low ceiling effects were found in the untreated clubfeet for both instruments. High ceiling effects were found in the CAP for the treated children and low for the Dimeglio.
Responsiveness was good. ES from untreated to treated ranged from 0.80 to 4.35 for the CAP subgroups and was 4.68 for the Dimeglio. The first four treatment months, the CAP mobility I had generally higher ES compared with the Dimeglio.
Conclusion
The Clubfoot Assessment Protocol shows in this study good validity and responsiveness. The CAP is more responsive when severity ranges between mild – moderate to severe, while the Dimeglio focuses more on the extremes. The ability to discriminate between different mobility status of the right and left foot in bilaterally affected children in this population was higher compared with the Dimeglio score implicating a better sensitivity for the CAP.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-28
PMCID: PMC1434742  PMID: 16539716
7.  The clubfoot assessment protocol (CAP); description and reliability of a structured multi-level instrument for follow-up 
Background
In most clubfoot studies, the outcome instruments used are designed to evaluate classification or long-term cross-sectional results. Variables deal mainly with factors on body function/structure level. Wide scorings intervals and total sum scores increase the risk that important changes and information are not detected. Studies of the reliability, validity and responsiveness of these instruments are sparse. The lack of an instrument for longitudinal follow-up led the investigators to develop the Clubfoot Assessment Protocol (CAP).
The aim of this article is to introduce and describe the CAP and evaluate the items inter- and intra reliability in relation to patient age.
Methods
The CAP was created from 22 items divided between body function/structure (three subgroups) and activity (one subgroup) levels according to the International Classification of Function, Disability and Health (ICF). The focus is on item and subgroup development.
Two experienced examiners assessed 69 clubfeet in 48 children who had a median age of 2.1 years (range, 0 to 6.7 years). Both treated and untreated feet with different grades of severity were included. Three age groups were constructed for studying the influence of age on reliability. The intra- rater study included 32 feet in 20 children who had a median age of 2.5 years (range, 4 months to 6.8 years).
The Unweighted Kappa statistics, percentage observer agreement, and amount of categories defined how reliability was to be interpreted.
Results
The inter-rater reliability was assessed as moderate to good for all but one item. Eighteen items had kappa values > 0.40. Three items varied from 0.35 to 0.38. The mean percentage observed agreement was 82% (range, 62 to 95%). Different age groups showed sufficient agreement. Intra- rater; all items had kappa values > 0.40 [range, 0.54 to 1.00] and a mean percentage agreement of 89.5%. Categories varied from 3 to 5.
Conclusion
The CAP contains more detailed information than previous protocols. It is a multi-dimensional observer administered standardized measurement instrument with the focus on item and subgroup level. It can be used with sufficient reliability, independent of age, during the first seven years of childhood by examiners with good clinical experience.
A few items showed low reliability, partly dependent on the child's age and /or varying professional backgrounds between the examiners. These items should be interpreted with caution, until further studies have confirmed the validity and sensitivity of the instrument.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-6-40
PMCID: PMC1190184  PMID: 16022741

Results 1-7 (7)