The Variability of Cerebral Palsy Care: Bhooma Aravamuthan, MD, DPhil


The assistant professor of pediatric neurology at the Washington University in St. Louis spoke to the insights of a recent survey she and colleagues conducted.

“Cerebral palsy is quite common, with some estimates [putting it at] at least 3 out of every 1000 live births affected by [it]. That’s a lot of kids, and there are not enough neurologists and neurodevelopmentalists to diagnose all of them.”

A recently published dataset from a survey conducted by Bhooma Aravamuthan, MD, DPhil, assistant professor of pediatric neurology, Department of Neurology at Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues suggests that despite their desire to be involved in the process, child neurologists and neurodevelopmentalists (CNs/NDDs) are not often included in the diagnosis of cerebral palsy (CP).

Their data showed that the majority of those surveyed felt that CNs/NDDs should always be involved in CP diagnosis, but 42% reported that their patients were typically not diagnosed by these stakeholders. More intriguing for Aravamuthan was that 18% of these respondents did not receive referrals to establish the diagnosis of CP at all. In this conversation with NeurologyLive, she expressed the group’s desire to expand the survey to a larger group of neurologists and neurodevelopmentalists to assess the feasibility of making a recommendation to involve them in the CP diagnosis process.

Additionally, Aravamuthan discussed some of the other initiatives that the special interest group is pursuing as they further their research into this topic. She described the current landscape of CP care and management, explained some of the ongoing challenges in that care, and offered up her insight into what to expect from the field in the coming years.

Aravamuthan BR, Shevell M, Kim YM, et al. Role of child neurologists and neurodevelopmentalists in the diagnosis of cerebral palsy. Neurology. 2020;95(21):962-972. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000011036.
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