Magnetic resonance imaging findings in a population-based cohort of children with cerebral palsy


  • Acknowledgement
    We acknowledge the generous support of Professional Services Australia who provided substantial funding for the Victorian Cerebral Palsy Register.

Dinah S Reddihough at Department of Developmental Medicine, Royal Children’s Hospital, Flemington Road, Parkville, Victoria, 3052, Australia.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the frequency and spectrum of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) abnormalities in a population of children with cerebral palsy (CP) who were born in the years 2000 and 2001 in Victoria, Australia. In 2000 and 2001, 221 children (126 males, 95 females; mean age 6y [SD 7mo], range 5–7y) with CP, excluding those with CP due to postneonatal causes (6% of all cases), were identified through the Victorian Cerebral Palsy Register. All medical records were systematically reviewed and all available brain imaging was comprehensively evaluated by a single senior MRI radiologist. MRI was available for 154 (70%) individuals and abnormalities were identified in 129 (84%). The study group comprised 88% with a spastic motor type CP; the distribution was hemiplegia in 33.5%, diplegia in 28.5%, and quadriplegia in 37.6% of children. Overall, pathological findings were most likely to be identified in children with spastic hemiplegia (92%) and spastic quadriplegia (84%). Abnormalities were less likely to be identified in non-spastic motor types (72%) and spastic diplegia (52%). The most common abnormalities identified on MRI were periventricular white matter injury (31%), focal ischaemic/haemorrhagic lesions (16%), diffuse encephalopathy (14%), and brain malformations (12%). Dual findings were seen in 3% of patients. This is the first study to document comprehensively the neuroimaging findings of all children identified with CP born over a consecutive 24-month period in a large geographical area.