The number of children with cerebral palsy (CP) in England and Wales is estimated to increase 7.5 percent by 2020, a new study shows. Researchers say these predictions may have a significant impact on health and social services planning.
The study, “Predicting the prevalence of cerebral palsy by severity level in children aged 3 to 15 years across England and Wales by 2020,” was published in the journal Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology.
“The aim of this study is to estimate the number of children who were living with CP in England and Wales in 2013 by severity and to extrapolate this figure to 2020 to provide evidence for health and social care planning,” researchers wrote.
To do so, the team analyzed data from CP children ages 3 and older included in the North of England Collaborative Cerebral Palsy Survey from 1991 to 2000 to estimate the prevalence of this disease in both England and Wales. They also assessed the survival of patients within a period of 15 years according to disease severity and lifestyle.
Researchers then estimated the number of kids with cerebral palsy ages 3-15 with different disease severity living in both countries in 2013 and 2019 using actual and nationally projected births.
The analysis revealed that the cumulative survival estimates up to the age of 16 in CP children ranged between 97 to 100 percent for those with a non-severe form of cerebral palsy, and between 64 to 67 percent for those with the most severe form of the disease.
By the end of 2013, there were about 20,500 CP children ages 3-15 in England and Wales, a number that is expected to rise 7.5 percent by the year 2020 — nearly 22,100 children with cerebral palsy.
“Owing to an increasing population, the number of children living with CP in England and Wales will increase by 2020. This will have significant implications for health and social care service planning,” the researchers wrote. “Forty-five percent of these children will have at least one severe impairment and two-thirds will have moderate or severe CP.”
“Our predictions can be used to estimate the costs associated with specialized health and social care services utilized by children with CP,” the team added. “This is of particular importance in light of current cuts in health and social care services due to austerity policies.”