Early detection of cerebral palsy in high-risk infants: Translation of evidence into practice in an Australian hospital

Arrabella R. King, Catherine Machipisa, Francyne Finlayson, Michael C. Fahey, Iona Novak, Atul Malhotra

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: The early diagnosis of cerebral palsy (CP) allows children timely access to early intervention. In 2018, Monash Children's Hospital established an Early Neurodevelopment Clinic based upon evidence-based guidelines for the early diagnosis of CP in high-risk infants. In this study, we aimed to characterise the infants presenting to the clinic and determine the rate of CP diagnosis. Methods: This study analysed data from infants attending the Early Neurodevelopment Clinic between May 2019 and April 2020. Infants at high-risk for CP attended the clinic at 3 months corrected age. Neuroimaging reports were reviewed, and a Prechtl's General Movement Assessment and Hammersmith Infant Neurological Examination were performed. Infants were diagnosed as having typical development, delayed development, high-risk of CP or CP at the time of clinic attendance and referred on to the appropriate pathway. Results: Ninety-six high-risk infants attended the clinic over the 1 year study period. Sixty-eight (71%) infants were extremely preterm or extremely low birthweight, and 28 (29%) were infants at born at older gestation with evidence of moderate to severe brain injury. Nine (9.6%) infants received a CP diagnosis and 12 (12.5%) were considered high-risk of CP. All infants with CP or high-risk of CP were referred to the Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service. Conclusions: It is feasible to implement the early CP diagnosis guidelines into a high-risk infant follow-up clinic. Implementation of the guidelines allows for early diagnosis of CP and appropriate referral of high-risk infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-250
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • follow-up
  • general movement
  • Hammersmith infant neurological examination
  • neuroimaging

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