Prevalence and initial diagnosis of cerebral palsy in preterm and term-born children in taiwan: A nationwide, population-based cohort study

Hsin Hua Wang, Yea Shwu Hwang, Chung Han Ho, Ming Chi Lai, Yu Chin Chen, Wen Hui Tsai

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5 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this long-term longitudinal study in Taiwan was to estimate and compare the prevalence of cerebral palsy (CP) and to identify the age of CP diagnosis of term-born and preterm children with different birthweights. Records of 1494 extremely low birth weight (ELBW, <1000 g), 3961 very low birth weight (VLBW, 1000–1499 g), 19,612 low birth weight (LBW, 1500–2499 g) preterm, and 100,268 matched term-born children were retrieved from Taiwan s National Health Insurance Research Database. According to a 12-year retrospective data review, the results showed the highest prevalence of CP in preterm ELBW children (147.3 cases per 1000 neonatal survivors), followed by preterm VLBW (97.2 cases), preterm LBW (27.7 cases), with the lowest prevalence in term-born children (2.5 cases). Regardless of the birthweight group, 90% of preterm children with CP were diagnosed by 4 years of age, but it was 7 years before 90% of term-born children with CP were diagnosed. After removing the children whose CP was caused by brain infections, injuries, or cerebrovascular accidents after 4 months of age, there were similar mean ages at the initial CP diagnosis (1.58–1.64 years of age) across birthweight groups born prematurely, but initial diagnosis occurred at an older age (2.41 years of age) in term-born children. The results indicate that birthweight is reversely correlated with the prevalence of CP in preterm children. Although the three preterm birthweight groups received different types of developmental follow-up programs after birth, it did not influence their age at the initial diagnosis of CP. Furthermore, we suggest that follow-up for at least 4 years after birth for preterm children, and 7 years for term-born children, is optimal for estimating CP prevalence. In order to identify and provide early intervention for term-born children with CP earlier, it is suggested that parents routinely fill out a self-reported motor developmental screening questionnaire and pediatricians conduct a motor developmental examination on term-born children at each time of scheduled vaccination injections.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8984
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sept 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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