|May 2003 · Vol. 15, No. 5
Cerebral palsy: A look at etiology and new task force conclusions
An expert reviews new ACOG criteria on the link between hypoxic injury and cerebral palsy during childbirth and explores the unexpected role of technological advances.
Dr. Blickstein is head of the high-risk pregnancy outpatient clinic, department of obstetrics and gynecology, Kaplan Medical Center, Rehovot, Israel, and associate professor, the Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Medicine, Jerusalem.
Cerebral palsy occurs as a result of an intrapartum event in no more than 10% of cases.
Only cerebral palsy involving spastic quadriplegia is associated with an acute interruption of the blood supply, while purely dyskinetic or ataxic cerebral palsy generally is genetic in origin.
Epidemiologic studies have clearly demonstrated a causal relationship between premature birth and cerebral palsy.
Not only is cerebral palsy the most serious handicap of intrauterine and early neonatal life, it is the most common cause of medicolegal disputes in obstetrics.1
Using findings from a 2003 task force, this article outlines current understanding of the causes of cerebral palsy, summarizes the updated criteria for determining whether it is the result of an intrapartum event, and assesses the association between cerebral palsy and various factors, including prematurity and multiple gestation.