Pan African Medical Journal

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Severity of motor dysfunction in children with cerebral palsy seen in Enugu, Nigeria

Christian Chukwukere Ogoke, Sylvester Onabeke Iloeje


Introduction: Children with cerebral palsy (CP) have gross motor dysfunction (GMD) of varying degrees of severity. The Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) is widely used internationally to classify children with CP into functional severity levels. There are few reports on the use of GMFCS in Nigeria to determine the severity of motor dysfunction in children with CP. This study aims to classify children with CP in Enugu on the basis of severity of their GMD in order to ascertain their management needs.

Methods: The study was a cross sectional observational study and sample selection was by consecutive recruitment. One hundred (100) children with CP aged 9 – 96 months, attending two Pediatric Neurology Clinics in Enugu, were consecutively recruited. Relevant history was taken including modalities of treatment received. Neurological examination was done and the GMFCS manual was used to classify the children into levels of severity.

Results: GMD varied in severity in the patients from mild (47%) (GMFCS levels I & II) to moderate (7%) (GMFCS levels III) and to severe (46%) (GMFCS levels IV & V). Those in levels I – III (54%) were ambulatory while those in levels IV & V (46%) were non-ambulatory. Of the 53 that required mobility assistive device, only 6 (11.3%) were using one.

Conclusion: More than half of CP patients seen in Enugu were ambulatory with mild to moderate motor dysfunction based on the GMFCS. Only a few of our patients are appropriately rehabilitated with augmentative interventions.

Keywords: Severity, gross motor dysfunction, GMFCS, Enugu, cerebral palsy, management
AJOL African Journals Online