Infantile cerebral palsy

Infantile cerebral palsy (ICP) refers to permanent brain damage that affects movement and posture as well as the muscular and nervous systems.

Overview

Infantile cerebral palsy (ICP) refers to permanent brain damage that affects movement and posture as well as the muscular and nervous systems. Causes include damage to the immature brain before, during or after birth due to bleeding, infections or a reduced blood supply. Regular pregnancy check-ups are an important preventive measure.

Symptoms

Depending on the severity of the condition

  • Changed muscle tone
    • Floppy muscles
    • Cramped, hard muscles (spastic)
  • Mobility restrictions throughout the body
    • Often affects hands, arms, feet, legs, as well as the torso and head
  • Balance disturbance and coordination disorders
    • Ability to turning or crawl is limited or impossible
    • Ability to sit, stand or walk is limited or impossible
    • Coordination of controlled movements is limited or impossible
  • Paralysis (one side of the body, arms and/or legs)
  • Seizures (epilepsy)
  • Speech disturbances, hearing problems and visual disturbances
  • Behavioural disorders, reduced intelligence
Possible long-term damage
  • Misalignment of muscles and bones

Causes and treatment

Infantile damage to motor cortex of immature brain

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Search for the cause
    • Blood and urine tests
    • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
    • Examination of cerebrospinal fluid (lumbar puncture)
Possible therapies
  • Can’t be healed
  • Promote independence in coping with everyday life
  • Targeted movement therapy (physiotherapy and occupational therapy
  • Music and riding therapy to promote development
  • Orthopaedic aids (splints, walking aids)
  • Orthopaedic treatment (surgery, if necessary)
  • Medication (anti-spasmodic)

What can I do myself?

  • Go for regular pregnancy check-ups
  • Discuss use of medication with gynaecologist
  • Don't consume alcohol or drugs
  • Never shake the baby

When to see a doctor?

  • No or abnormal movements
  • Developmental anomalies (child doesn't sit, can't hold up its head)
  • State of consciousness anomalies

Further information

Vereinigung Cerebral Schweiz (Swiss Cerebral Association)
www.vereinigung-cerebral.ch

Schweizerische Stiftung für das cerebral gelähmte Kind (Swiss Foundation for Children with Cerebral Palsy)
www.cerebral.ch

Synonyms

infantile cerebral palsy, ICP, cerebral palsy, cerebral movement disorder, infantile paralysis, movement disorder, Little’s disease, physical disability

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