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Exploring Hypertonia in Children With Cerebral Palsy (HypE-CP)

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT01744158
Recruitment Status : Unknown
Verified December 2012 by Dr James Rice, Women's and Children's Hospital, Australia.
Recruitment status was:  Recruiting
First Posted : December 6, 2012
Last Update Posted : December 6, 2012
Allergan Australia Pty Ltd
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Dr James Rice, Women's and Children's Hospital, Australia

Brief Summary:
Abnormal limb and trunk movements are seen in many children with cerebral palsy. Recognizing the difference between types of these movements is not well understood. This study aims to describe how common are these movements in children recruited from a population-based sample of children identified on a cerebral palsy register, and to explore associations with motor abilities. It is hoped this will lead to improved understanding and recognition of movement disorders in CP, to allow clinicians to choose appropriate treatments. We hypothesise that the underlying prevalence of dyskinesia is higher than that previously identified through conventional motor descriptions in cerebral palsy populations in Australia, and may approach 20%.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment
Cerebral Palsy. Other: No intervention applicable

Detailed Description:

A key descriptor associated with the term cerebral palsy is "the disordered development of movement and posture, resulting in activity limitation." The term "movement disorders" is now commonly used to describe a range of observed abnormal movements and postures displayed by children with chronic neurological conditions, of which cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common. These children have muscle tone abnormalities related to non-progressive damage to motor pathways, in particular those contained within the cortex, basal ganglia and thalamus. In recent years there has been much focus on understanding and treating abnormal tone and movements in children with CP, including spasticity and dystonia. Spasticity, which occurs in approximately 90% of children with CP is defined as the velocity-dependent resistance of a muscle to stretch. In general, spasticity is elicited during a standard clinical examination, such as by passive range of joint motion performed at varying speeds.

Dystonia in childhood is defined as ''a movement disorder in which involuntary sustained or intermittent muscle contractions cause twisting and repetitive movements, abnormal postures, or both. ''. In contrast to spasticity, dystonia is inherently more difficult to observe and measure, particularly when spasticity co-exists. When classified according to the dominant form of tone abnormality, it accounts for up to 2-15% of cases. However it is often overlooked in the diagnostic formulation of motor aspects of cerebral palsy, and therefore does not necessarily figure in treatment decision-making. Under-recognised dystonia, when co-existent with spasticity, can produce unpredictable surgical outcomes in the management of gait disorders and associated musculoskeletal deformities. In addition, other abnormal movements such as chorea and athetosis may be observed in these children, adding to the complexity of the movement disorder, but are rarely classified as dominant abnormalities. Improving the recognition of dyskinesias, and situations where they co-exist with spasticity, is important not only for promoting a clearer description of tone and movement abnormalities, but also to help tailor appropriate treatments leading to improved outcomes.

In our recent study describing the motor profiles of 247 5-year-old children in the South Australian CP population, 93.2% of children were coded as primarily spastic-type; 3.2% as dyskinetic (dystonia or athetosis) and 3.6% as ataxic.1 However this study also found that when children were assessed face-to-face by a group of expert paediatricians, 19.4% of the population was noted on observation alone to have abnormal movements, which included dyskinesias. This increased with motor severity by Gross Motor Functional Classification System (GMFCS) from 7% (level I) to 45% (level V). We questioned whether in fact recognition of some dyskinesias are "masked" by the presence of spasticity, according to conventional clinical descriptors. We advocated for the development of a classification system that describes spasticity and dystonia in parallel, to aid the clinician in prescribing treatment strategies. To date no published study has systematically examined for the prevalence of abnormal movements in CP populations, beyond determining the dominant form of tone abnormality in a mutually exclusive fashion, e.g. spasticity or dystonia. Our study proposes a mutually inclusive format using a recently validated tool for the recognition of dystonia and other abnormal movements.

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Study Type : Observational
Estimated Enrollment : 300 participants
Observational Model: Cohort
Time Perspective: Cross-Sectional
Official Title: Exploring Hypertonia in Children With Cerebral Palsy- a Population-based Approach.
Study Start Date : March 2011
Estimated Primary Completion Date : October 2013
Estimated Study Completion Date : January 2014

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Group/Cohort Intervention/treatment
Children with cerebral palsy
No intervention applicable
Other: No intervention applicable

Following consent, children will undergo a comprehensive assessment performed by a research team including rehabilitation paediatrician and therapist. Hypertonia and abnormal movements will be assessed by a pediatrician with expertise in treating children with movement disorders. The assessments will be performed at a rehabilitation clinic, or child's home, and will include:

  • differentiation of hypertonia by application of the Hypertonia Assessment Tool-Discriminate (HAT-D)
  • measurement of severity of dystonia using the Barry Albright dystonia scale, based on video recording
  • measurement of severity of spasticity using the modified Ashworth score
  • description of presence of chorea or athetosis
  • classification of gross motor abilities using the GMFCS and functional mobility scale (FMS)
  • classification of fine motor abilities using the manual ability classification system (MACS)
  • collection of demographic data and associated medical history

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Hypertonia Assessment Tool-Discriminate (HAT-D) [ Time Frame: One hour ]
    The Hypertonia Assessment Tool (HAT) is a seven-item standardised clinical assessment tool used to differentiate the various types of paediatric hypertonia. There are 2 spasticity items, 2 rigidity items and 3 dystonia items and a standardized protocol for administration has been developed. Each item is scored yes or no. A positive score for at least one item of the subgroup confirms the presence of the subtype of hypertonia in the limb examined.

  2. Barry-Albright Dystonia scale [ Time Frame: One hour ]
    The Barry-Albright Dystonia scale is a 5-point criterion-based ordinal scale for measuring dystonia in CP, with sound validity and reliability. 7 It assesses dystonia in 8 body regions: eyes, mouth, neck, trunk, and the 4 extremities. Severity is scored from none to severe, with each body region having specific descriptors for scoring.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Modified Ashworth Scale [ Time Frame: One hour ]
    The Modified Ashworth scale is a 6-point ordinal scale of muscle tone and involves a subjective assessment of muscle resistance as a limb is moved trough its full passive range.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   2 Years to 18 Years   (Child, Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
Sampling Method:   Non-Probability Sample
Study Population
Subjects will be those with cerebral palsy attending Rehabilitation clinics at the Women's and Children's Hospital.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • children with a confirmed diagnosis of cerebral palsy
  • aged between 2 and 18 years

Exclusion Criteria:

  • presence of any progressive neurological disorder, including forms of genetic dystonia
  • children less than two years, or greater than 18 years of age

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT01744158

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Contact: James E Rice, MD +618 8161 7367
Contact: Remo N Russo, MD +618 8161 7367

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Australia, South Australia
Women's and Children's Hospital Recruiting
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 5006
Contact: James E Rice, MD    +618 8161 7367   
Sponsors and Collaborators
Women's and Children's Hospital, Australia
Allergan Australia Pty Ltd
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Principal Investigator: James E Rice, MD Women's and Children's Health Network

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Responsible Party: Dr James Rice, Senior Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine, Women's and Children's Hospital, Australia Identifier: NCT01744158    
Other Study ID Numbers: REC2202/8/12
First Posted: December 6, 2012    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: December 6, 2012
Last Verified: December 2012
Keywords provided by Dr James Rice, Women's and Children's Hospital, Australia:
cerebral palsy
motor function
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Cerebral Palsy
Muscle Hypertonia
Neurologic Manifestations
Nervous System Diseases
Signs and Symptoms
Brain Damage, Chronic
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Neuromuscular Manifestations