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CEREBRAL PALSY: CLASSIFICATIONS
Please do not hesitate to call Wagners if you have further questions about medical malpractice and CP and would like to consult with a lawyer.
Wagners has extensive experience in medical malpractice and complex litigation, and has represented clients throughout Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI. Wagners has been successful in many birth trauma cases, and has obtained for its clients the much needed and lifelong financial support for families with children of CP.
What are the Different Types of Cerebral Palsy?
There are three main CP classifications by motor impairment: spastic, ataxic, and dyskinetic. Additionally, there is a mixed type that shows a combination of features of the other types. These classifications reflect the areas of the brain that are damaged.
(a) Spastic Cerebral Palsy is by far the most common type of CP, occurring in upwards of 70% of all cases. It results from damage to the motor cortex of the brain. The almost exclusive impairment present is spasticity (muscle tightness), which often leads to a very early onset of muscle stress symptoms like arthritis and tendinitis. Occupational therapy and physical therapy regimens of assisted stretching, strengthening, functional tasks, and/or targeted physical activity and exercise are the primary ways to manage spastic CP.
(b) Ataxic Cerebral Palsy affects coordinated movements. Fine motor skills such as writing, typing, or using scissors might be affected, as well as balance and posture, especially while walking. Control of eye movements and depth perception can be impaired. Ataxic CP does not produce involuntary movements, but instead indicates impaired balance and coordination.
(c) Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy is separated further into two different groups; athetoid and dystonic. Athetoid Cerebral Palsy is mixed muscle tone — hypertonia and hypotonia mixed with involuntary motions, especially in the arms, legs, and hands. Dystonia/Dystonic Cerebral Palsy includes cases that affect the trunk muscles more than the limbs and results in a fixed, twisted posture. People with Dyskinetic CP have trouble holding themselves in an upright, steady position for sitting or walking, and often show involuntary motions. The brain damage occurs to the extrapyramidal motor system and/or pyramidal tract and to the basal ganglia. In newborn infants, high bilirubin levels in the blood, if left untreated, can lead to brain damage in the basal ganglia (kernicterus), which can lead to Dyskinetic CP.
(d) Mixed Cerebral Palsy displays symptoms of dyskinetic, ataxic and spastic CP appearing simultaneously, each to varying degrees, and both with and without symptoms of each.