A randomized controlled trial of early physiotherapy for high-risk infants

Authors

  • AM Weindling,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Child Health, and Departments of Public Health & Statistics and Computational Mathematics, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
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  • P Hallam,

    1. Department of Child Health, and Departments of Public Health & Statistics and Computational Mathematics, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
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  • J Gregg,

    1. Department of Child Health, and Departments of Public Health & Statistics and Computational Mathematics, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
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  • H Klenka,

    1. Department of Child Health, and Departments of Public Health & Statistics and Computational Mathematics, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
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  • L Rosenbloom,

    1. Department of Child Health, and Departments of Public Health & Statistics and Computational Mathematics, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
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  • JL Hutton

    1. Department of Child Health, and Departments of Public Health & Statistics and Computational Mathematics, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
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AM Weindling, Department of Child Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool Women's Hospital, Crown Street, Liverpool L8 7SS, UK

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the hypothesis that infants at high risk of cerebral palsy would benefit from early physiotherapy. In total, 105 infants with abnormal cranial ultrasound scans were randomized at around term to early physiotherapy or standard treatment (delaying physiotherapy until abnormal physical signs became apparent). At 12 and 30 months there were clinical and objective assessments. Nine infants died and nine were lost to follow-up by 12 months when 87 infants were assessed. One other child had died and three others were lost to follow-up by 30 months when 83 children were assessed. Cerebral palsy was only accurately predicted in 45 (54%) infants. There was no difference in outcome. The difficulty of predicting cerebral palsy reliably and the heterogeneity of the condition should be borne in mind when planning treatment and assessing its efficacy.

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