Does sex influence outcome in ambulant children with bilateral spastic cerebral palsy?


  • See end of paper for list of abbreviations.

* Correspondence to first author at One Small Step Gait Laboratory, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, St Thomas Street, London SE1 9RT, UK.


To investigate the effect of sex on the phenotype of bilateral spastic cerebral palsy (CP) we reviewed the gait analysis data of 116 children (78 males, mean age 8y 1mo [SD 3y 1mo] and 38 females, mean age 8y 9mo [3y 1mo]) with bilateral spastic CP (Gross Motor Function Classification System [GMFCS] Levels I [four males, six females]; II [41 males, 19 females]; III [26 males, 12 females]; and IV [7 males, 1 female]) who had been referred for gait analysis to inform treatment. Although there were no differences between males and females in terms of gestational age, chronological age, or GMFCS level, males were more likely to have had nonoperative intervention before the referral (p=0.024), had a greater degree of knee flexion in stance phase when walking (p=0.003), and had a higher Gillette Gait Index (p<0.001) when compared with females. Males were also more likely to have surgery recommended on the basis of gait analysis (p<0.001). Sex seems to influence the development of the musculoskeletal system and mobility in ambulant children with bilateral spastic CP, and this may need to be considered when planning intervention or when assessing the outcome of intervention.