What is Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy?
Dyskinetic cerebral palsy (CP) is caused by damage to the basal ganglia or cerebellum in the brain and can cause multiple problems, including involuntary movements of the muscles, motor control problems, and developmental delays. The primary characteristics of this type of cerebral palsy include postural abnormalities while resting and sudden muscle contractions when trying to move. There are four subtypes of CP, and others include ataxic, mixed, and spastic cerebral palsy. The most common type is spastic CP, which accounts for more than 75% of all cases. Dyskinetic CP is the second most common type. Philadelphia Cerebral Palsy law firms like Raynes & Lawn represent people whose cerebral palsy was caused by medical negligence.
Understanding Dyskinetic CP
Dyskinetic CP is distinguished from the other subtypes by the area of the brain that sustains damage and its symptoms. People with dyskinetic cerebral palsy suffer damage to the basal ganglia or cerebellum. The basal ganglia control signals for movement as they flow to and from the brain and spinal cord while the cerebellum controls motor function and muscle tone.
There are a few variations of dyskinetic cerebral palsy, including the following:
- Athetoid dyskinetic cerebral palsy – This variation affects the limbs of the child and is characterized by small or large movements that can be repetitive, slow, jerky, or sudden that can affect their tongue or face and increase when the child feels stress.
- Dystonic dyskinetic cerebral palsy – This variation involves painful, twisting, and random movements when the child tries to move that can be repetitive, slow, or fast.
Symptoms of Dyskinetic CP
The symptoms your child might experience will depend on the severity of their condition. Some children show multiple symptoms and can have symptoms that overlap between athetoid and dystonic cerebral palsy. While a child’s cognitive ability will typically not be affected, around 25% of children will have cognitive impairments or epilepsy.
Some of the symptoms of dyskinetic CP include the following:
- Involuntary eye movements
- Not meeting developmental milestones
- Abnormal, involuntary body movements that are repetitive or continuous
- Trouble sitting up or holding objects
- Trouble speaking or swallowing
- Pain with abnormal movements
- Involuntary facial movements
- Writhing of the limbs and hands
- Fluctuation between hypertonia and hypotonia of the muscle tone
- Abnormalities of the cervical spine
- Foot drop or toe walking
Causes of Dyskinetic CP
Dyskinetic cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the basal ganglia or cerebellum during pregnancy, birth, or shortly following birth. The damage might be caused by any of the following things:
- Maternal infections during pregnancy
- Brain hemorrhage or fetal strokes
- Excessively high or low maternal blood pressure during pregnancy
- Improper use of forceps
- Failing to properly monitor the baby and mother during labor
- Failure to perform an emergency C-section
- Oxygen deprivation to the fetus during labor and delivery
Dyskinetic cerebral palsy is frequently caused by the medical negligence of doctors or nurses during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
How Dyskinetic CP Is Diagnosed
While dyskinetic CP is caused by brain damage before, during, or shortly after birth, it typically will not be diagnosed until the child reaches at least nine months of age when motor function issues are more obvious. The symptoms are usually not apparent until the child grows and develops motor skills. In mild cases, a child might not be diagnosed with dyskinetic CP until they are three or four years old.
Doctors diagnose dyskinetic CP based on the child’s symptoms, making it important for parents and pediatricians to follow up on any symptoms that develop. If dyskinetic CP is suspected, your doctor will conduct a thorough physical exam and review your child’s complete medical history. They will also perform several imaging studies of the brain and monitor your child’s speech development, vision, hearing, and cognitive functioning.
Treatment of Dyskinetic CP
Dyskinetic cerebral palsy is a permanent condition for which there is no cure. However, there are treatments that can help your child to improve their ability to function and their independence. Some of the types of treatment your child might receive include the following:
- Physical therapy to help your child strengthen their muscles and improve their control over muscle movements
- Speech therapy to improve your child’s ability to speak and swallow by improving their control over their tongue and facial muscles
- Occupational therapy to improve fine motor skills and help the child perform the activities of daily life, including holding pencils, grasping objects, and more
- Massage and yoga to help the child’s muscles to relax
- Stem cell therapy to help repair some of the damage to the neurons
- Medication to alleviate some of the symptoms such as anticholinergics or anti-seizure drugs
- Surgery to correct deformities of the limbs when they are significant or cause pain when the child moves
Find Birth Injury Lawyers Near Me
If your child was diagnosed with dyskinetic cerebral palsy, and you believe it might have been caused by substandard medical care during pregnancy, delivery, or shortly after birth, you should talk to a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer at Raynes & Lawn. We have decades of legal experience and can review your case for free. Call us at 1-800-535-1797 for a free consultation.
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