Upper Limb Function After Intrathecal Baclofen Treatment in Children With Cerebral Palsy

Motta, F., Stignani, C., Antonello, C.E.

Evidence shows that intrathecal baclofen reduces spasticity in children with cerebral palsy (CP). The study looks at upper limb motor function in those treated with baclofen. A series of 20 patients with spastic CP were studied with a mean age at implantation of 11.4 years and were classified by the Gross Motor Function Classification Scale. The patients were followed up over a 12 month period and upper limb function was assessed by the Melbourne Assessment of Unilateral Upper Limb Function scale.

The results show a reduction of upper limb spasticity in all 20 patients with the Melbourne scale showing a statistically significant improvement of the total score (P < 0.05) and an improvement of the subskills of range of movement, target accuracy, and fluency. Twenty-five percent of patients showed a clinically significant improvement. The subjects with CP of different degrees of severity had an improvement in the quality of the upper limb function and showed overall satisfaction with the results achieved.

The study also shows the importance of evaluating the quality of upper limb function in children with CP treated with ITB therapy.

Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics 2008 28(1):91-96

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