To describe the epidemiology of health status, impairments, activities and participation in adults with cerebral palsy (CP).
Embase, MEDLINE, Web of Science, PsycINFO, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health, Cochrane, and Google Scholar were searched for 3 themes (“cerebral palsy,” “adult,” and “outcome assessment”) in literature published between January 2000 and December 2018.
Full-article peer-reviewed English journal articles on descriptive, observational, or experimental studies describing the most studied outcomes in adults with CP (n≥25, age≥18y) were included. Studies were included in the analyses if frequently studied outcomes were described in at least 3 studies using similar methods of assessment.
Data were extracted independently by 2 authors from 65 articles (total N=28,429) using a standardized score sheet.
Meta-analyses revealed that overall, on average 65.1% (95% confidence interval [CI], 55.1-74.5) of adults with CP experienced pain, 57.9% (95% CI, 51.1-64.6) were ambulant, 65.5% (95% CI, 61.2-69.7) had little or no limitation in manual ability, 18.2% (95% CI, 10.6-27.2) had tertiary education, 39.2% (95% CI, 31.5;47.1) were employed, and 29.3% (95% CI, 9.0-55.3) lived independently. In adults without intellectual disability, proportions of individuals who were ambulant (72.6% [95% CI, 58.8-84.5]) and lived independently (90.0% [95% CI, 83.8-94.9]) were higher (P=.014 and P<.01, respectively). The Fatigue Severity Scale score was 4.1 (95% CI, 3.8-4.4). Epilepsy (28.8% [95% CI, 20.1-38.4]) and asthma (28.3% [95% CI, 18.7-38.9]) were especially prevalent comorbidities.
The present systematic review and meta-analysis on the epidemiology of adults with CP provided state-of-the-art knowledge on the most frequently studied outcomes. On average, adults with CP are fatigued, and a majority experience pain, are ambulant, and have little or no difficulty with manual ability. On average, 40% are employed and 30% live independently. More uniformity in assessment and reports is advised to improve knowledge on epidemiology and gain insight in more outcomes.