Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy
Spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy is the most severe form of spastic cerebral palsy, affecting all four limbs. It is also sometimes referred to as “spastic quadriplegia,” and “spastic quadriparesis” (1). On this page, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatments for this condition.
What is cerebral palsy?
What is spastic cerebral palsy?
Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common subtype of cerebral palsy, affecting approximately 80% of people with CP. It is characterized by increased muscle tone, meaning that muscles are stiff and movements appear awkward (1).
What are the causes of spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy?
The muscle stiffness associated with spastic cerebral palsy originates from incorrect messages sent from damaged regions of the brain and spinal cord. These include the corticospinal tracts and corticobulbar tracts, which control motor function (2). In many cases, this brain damage is due to a birth injury; that is, harm to a baby that occurs just before, during, or after birth.
Spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy often results from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a type of brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation around the time of birth (birth asphyxia). Spastic quadriplegic CP also can occur in premature infants who have periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), or damage to the brain’s white matter from HIE. Additionally, spastic quadriplegic CP is associated with diffuse cortical atrophy, hydrocephalus, and other perinatal complications that can result in widespread brain damage (3, 4). Many of the birth injuries that can result in spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy are associated with medical malpractice. Parents may consider pursuing a lawsuit on behalf of their injured child.
What are the signs and symptoms of spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy?
Spastic quadriplegia is generally considered the most severe form of cerebral palsy because it affects the majority of the body and often results in significant impairments. Those with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy often have extensive motor control issues and are unable to walk (1).
Other signs, symptoms, and associated complications include (1, 3, 4, 5):
- Severe stiffness in the limbs
- A floppy neck/difficulty controlling the neck muscles
- Developmental delays, including slow growth and a lack of sexual development
- Cognitive impairments (this is more common among those with spastic quadriplegia than with other subtypes of CP)
- Vision and hearing impairments
- Oromotor dysfunction
- Feeding issues
- Speech-language problems
- Pulmonary disease
Prognoses and care for people with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy
People with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy often require extensive care, treatment, and therapy throughout their lives. Many also benefit from the use of assistive/adaptive technology; this includes mobility equipment and other devices that help disabled people perform important tasks like getting dressed, eating, writing, etc.
Spastic quadriplegic CP is a non-progressive condition, meaning that the underlying brain damage should not get worse as a person ages. However, the symptoms of it can change over time. Such changes may include (2):
- Increased stiffness, muscle atrophy, or fibrosis
- Joint contractures (joints lacking a full range of motion)
- Bone deformities, including hip dislocation and scoliosis of the spine
- Pain (this can be influenced by the aforementioned complications)
Access to high quality treatments and therapies is critically important for children with spastic quadriplegia, and indeed, for those with all forms of cerebral palsy. Early intervention can help to minimize negative symptoms and maximize functional abilities.
Birth injury attorneys helping children with cerebral palsy
ABC Law Centers was established to focus exclusively on birth injury cases. A “birth injury” is any type of harm to a baby that occurs just before, during, or after birth. This includes issues such as oxygen deprivation, infection, and trauma. While some children with birth injuries make a complete recovery, others develop disabilities such as cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
If a birth injury/subsequent disability could have been prevented with proper care, then it constitutes medical malpractice. Settlements from birth injury cases can cover the costs of lifelong treatment, care, and other crucial resources.
If you believe you may have a birth injury case for your child, please contact us today to learn more. We are happy to talk to you free of any obligation or charge. In fact, clients pay nothing throughout the entire legal process unless we win.
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- What is Cerebral Palsy? | CDC. (n.d.). Retrieved October 21, 2019, from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/cp/facts.html.
- Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation. (n.d.). Spastic Cerebral Palsy: Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation – USA. Retrieved October 21, 2019, from https://cparf.org/what-is-cerebral-palsy/types-of-cerebral-palsy/spastic-cerebral-palsy/.
- Cerebral Palsy. (2019, October 20). Retrieved October 21, 2019, from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1179555-overview#a5.
- Cerebral Palsy: Hope Through Research. (n.d.). Retrieved October 21, 2019, from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Hope-Through-Research/Cerebral-Palsy-Hope-Through-Research.
- (n.d.). Retrieved October 21, 2019, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/cerebral-palsy-clinical-features-and-classification#H16407486.