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      Pattern of comorbidities in school-aged children with cerebral palsy in Cross River State, Nigeria


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          To describe the pattern of comorbidities in school-aged children with cerebral palsy (CP) and to identify which, if any, were associated with poor school attendance.

          A cross-sectional study, using the key informant methodology, between December 2017 and July 2018 was conducted in Cross River State, Nigeria. Assessments, confirmation of CP and identification of systemic comorbidities using standard tools and questionnaires were performed. Children confirmed to have CP between the ages 4 to 15 years were included.


          Three hundred and eighty-eight children were confirmed to have CP, 59% males. The mean age was 9.2 years ± SD 4.0; 28% were non-ambulatory (gross motor function classification system (GMFCS) level IV-V) and spastic CP was seen in 70%. Comorbidities included Speech impairment 85%, feeding difficulties 86%, and swallowing difficulties 77%, learning difficulties 88%, abnormal behaviour 62%, visual acuity impairment 54%, objective perceptual visual disorders 46%, communication difficulties 45%, epilepsy 35%, hearing impairment 12% and malnutrition 51%. Learning difficulties (OR 10.1, p < 0.001; CI: 3.6–28.1), visual acuity impairment (OR 2.8, p = 0.002; CI: 1.5–5.3), epilepsy (OR 2.3, p = 0.009; CI:1.2–4.3) manual ability classification scale 4–5 (OR 4.7, p = 0.049; CI:1.0–22.2) and CP severity (GMFCS V-VI) OR 6.9 p = 0.002, CI: 2.0–24.0.) were seen as increasing the likelihood of poor school attendance.


          Comorbidities were common, and some were associated with limited school attendance. A multidisciplinary tailored approach to care, with application of available therapeutic interventions for comorbidities is suggested. This may be useful in reducing barriers to school attendance.

          Supplementary Information

          The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s12887-021-02637-9.

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          Most cited references43

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          A report: the definition and classification of cerebral palsy April 2006.

          For a variety of reasons, the definition and the classification of cerebral palsy (CP) need to be reconsidered. Modern brain imaging techniques have shed new light on the nature of the underlying brain injury and studies on the neurobiology of and pathology associated with brain development have further explored etiologic mechanisms. It is now recognized that assessing the extent of activity restriction is part of CP evaluation and that people without activity restriction should not be included in the CP rubric. Also, previous definitions have not given sufficient prominence to the non-motor neurodevelopmental disabilities of performance and behaviour that commonly accompany CP, nor to the progression of musculoskeletal difficulties that often occurs with advancing age. In order to explore this information, pertinent material was reviewed on July 11-13, 2004 at an international workshop in Bethesda, MD (USA) organized by an Executive Committee and participated in by selected leaders in the preclinical and clinical sciences. At the workshop, it was agreed that the concept 'cerebral palsy' should be retained. Suggestions were made about the content of a revised definition and classification of CP that would meet the needs of clinicians, investigators, health officials, families and the public and would provide a common language for improved communication. Panels organized by the Executive Committee used this information and additional comments from the international community to generate a report on the Definition and Classification of Cerebral Palsy, April 2006. The Executive Committee presents this report with the intent of providing a common conceptualization of CP for use by a broad international audience.
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            Development and reliability of a system to classify gross motor function in children with cerebral palsy

            To address the need for a standardized system to classify the gross motor function of children with cerebral palsy, the authors developed a five-level classification system analogous to the staging and grading systems used in medicine. Nominal group process and Delphi survey consensus methods were used to examine content validity and revise the classification system until consensus among 48 experts (physical therapists, occupational therapists, and developmental pediatricians with expertise in cerebral palsy) was achieved. Interrater reliability (kappa) was 0.55 for children less than 2 years of age and 0.75 for children 2 to 12 years of age. The classification system has application for clinical practice, research, teaching, and administration.
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              Defining comorbidity: implications for understanding health and health services.

              Comorbidity is associated with worse health outcomes, more complex clinical management, and increased health care costs. There is no agreement, however, on the meaning of the term, and related constructs, such as multimorbidity, morbidity burden, and patient complexity, are not well conceptualized. In this article, we review definitions of comorbidity and their relationship to related constructs. We show that the value of a given construct lies in its ability to explain a particular phenomenon of interest within the domains of (1) clinical care, (2) epidemiology, or (3) health services planning and financing. Mechanisms that may underlie the coexistence of 2 or more conditions in a patient (direct causation, associated risk factors, heterogeneity, independence) are examined, and the implications for clinical care considered. We conclude that the more precise use of constructs, as proposed in this article, would lead to improved research into the phenomenon of ill health in clinical care, epidemiology, and health services.

                Author and article information

                dr.roseineduek@gmail.com , dr.roselineduke@gmail.com
                BMC Pediatr
                BMC Pediatr
                BMC Pediatrics
                BioMed Central (London )
                8 April 2021
                8 April 2021
                : 21
                [1 ]GRID grid.8991.9, ISNI 0000 0004 0425 469X, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, , International Centre for Eye Health, ; London, UK
                [2 ]GRID grid.413097.8, ISNI 0000 0001 0291 6387, Department of Ophthalmology, , University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar Children’s Eye Centre, ; Calabar, Cross River State Nigeria
                [3 ]GRID grid.413097.8, ISNI 0000 0001 0291 6387, Department of Paediatrics, Neurology Unit, , University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, ; Calabar, Nigeria
                [4 ]GRID grid.413097.8, ISNI 0000 0001 0291 6387, Department of Physiotherapy, , University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, ; Calabar, Nigeria
                [5 ]Primary Health Care Development Agency, Calabar, Cross River State Nigeria
                [6 ]Cambridgeshire Community Services, Cambridge, UK
                [7 ]GRID grid.8991.9, ISNI 0000 0004 0425 469X, Clinical Research Department, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, ; London, UK
                © The Author(s) 2021

                Open AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2021

                cerebral palsy,comorbidity,school attendance,children
                cerebral palsy, comorbidity, school attendance, children


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