A systematic review of scales to measure dystonia and choreoathetosis in children with dyskinetic cerebral palsy

Kirsty Stewart, Adrienne Harvey, Leanne M. Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To identify and systematically review the psychometric properties and clinical utility of dystonia and choreoathetosis scales reported for children with cerebral palsy (CP). Method: Six electronic databases were searched for dystonia and choreoathetosis scales with original psychometric data for children with CP aged 0 to 18 years. Results: Thirty-four papers met the inclusion criteria, which contained six scales purported to measure dystonia and/or choreoathetosis in children with CP: the Burke–Fahn–Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale; Barry–Albright Dystonia Scale; Unified Dystonia Rating Scale; Movement Disorder-Childhood Rating Scale; Movement Disorder-Childhood Rating Scale 0–3 Years; and the Dyskinesia Impairment Scale. Interpretation: Each scale provides useful information about dyskinesia, with most focusing on dystonia. The Barry–Albright Dystonia Scale, which was designed for CP, is the most commonly reported scale and least complex to use clinically. The Dyskinesia Impairment Scale is the only tool to consider both dystonia and choreoathetosis in CP. All tools are designed to classify movement disorders at the level of body functions and structures, rather than activity limitations or participation restrictions, although many provide some insight into the impact of dystonia on activities. Further studies are required to fully examine the validity, reliability, responsiveness, and clinical utility of each scale specifically for children with CP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)786-795
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes

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