Systematic review of the economic impact of cerebral palsy

Utsana Tonmukayakul, Sophy T.F. Shih, Helen Bourke-Taylor, Christine Imms, Dinah Reddihough, Liz Cox, Rob Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Cerebral palsy (CP) and its associated conditions can pose a significant economic burden on families, the health care system and the general economy. The boundary for inclusion of costs in research can vary substantially across studies. Aims: To summarize the evidence for burden of disease for CP including the impacts on the health system, the community and carers. Methods: Literature was identified from Ovid Medline, Embase, CINHAL, PsyInfo, Econlit, Health Economic Evaluation Database (HEED) and NHS Economic Evaluation Database (NHS EED) in the Cochrane Library. The search was restricted to articles published in English between 1970 and April 2016. All costs were converted to $USD 2016 price. Results: Twenty-two articles were included. Studies varied from snapshot cost descriptions to more complex lifetime estimates, from prevalence-based to incidence-based studies, and from inclusion to exclusion of non-medical costs. There was a strong positive relationship between CP severity and expenditure. Significant costs were incurred by families and the welfare system to facilitate school and community engagement. Conclusion: Facilitating participation for people with CP involves substantial expense. The size, nature and distribution of the economic burden emphasises the importance of finding effective strategies to reduce the risk and severity of CP, together with how it is financed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-101
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Cost of illness
  • Economic burden
  • Economic impact

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