Background and aims CP is a clinical diagnosis caused by a brain anomaly or injury early in life. Cerebral MRI is increasingly used in the diagnostic work-up to demonstrate the location and extension of the lesion, and may in addition provide clues to aetiology and timing. The aim of this study was to describe the distribution of different MRI patterns in children with different subtypes of CP.
Methods Data on 1178 children (684 boys) born 1999–2008 were retrieved from the CP Register of Norway (CPRN). On the CPRN record form, completed when the children are 5–6 years old, MRI findings are classified as ‘Normal’, white matter injury (WMI), focal or diffuse cortical lesions, lesions of the basal ganglia (BG) and malformations.
Results Among the 711 (60.4%) children with CP and available cerebral MRI, 14.2% had ‘normal’ findings; while WMI was the most common lesion (48%), followed by focal cortical (18.6%), diffuse cortical (14.1%) and BG lesions (13.2%). Malformations were found in 8.2% of the children. Among those with WMI, 52% were born preterm and spastic bilateral CP was the most common subtype (47%). 80% with focal cortical lesions had unilateral CP. Among those with normal MRI the spastic bilateral subtype was most common (48.5%).
Conclusions Cerebral MRI scans were performed in more than 60% of Norwegian children with CP at age six. Nearly 50% had lesions consistent with an injury associated with preterm birth (WMI), whereas only 13% had BG lesions considered to typically reflect intrapartum events.