Birth Injuries

What Type Of Tests Do Doctors Use To Test For Cerebral Palsy?

Due to cerebral palsy being a neurological disorder, imaging and scan tests are utilized to assist with a cerebral palsy diagnosis and can help determine the cause of seizures. Below is a list of the some frequently used tests for cerebral palsy.


MRI: MRI stands for magnetic response imaging, which is used to take a 3D image of the brain to assist in determining abnormalities in the brain that are related to motor function. It can take an hour to perform and can help doctors determine the cause of the baby’s cerebral palsy.


Cranial Ultrasound: This is a quick test that allows doctors to closely examine brain tissue. Moreover, they do not provide as much detail as MRIs or CT scans. Cranial ultrasounds are necessary because they can capture distinct images in the white matter of the brain, which is primarily the area suffering from damage in a baby who has cerebral palsy.


Computed Tomography: Cross sectional images of the brain are captured in CT scans and can take about 20 minutes to complete. They detect things like brain bleeding and various other brain conditions. CT scans can also aid in confirming the diagnosis along with the timing of the brain injury. The film produced from a CT scan is similar to an X-Ray.


Electroencephalogram: Also known as an EEG, this determines the electrical activity of the brain. EEGs can detect patterns that are found in seizures.


Umbilical Cord Gas Test: During labor and delivery, doctors may order an umbilical cord gas test. If meconium staining is present when a mother’s water is broken, along with non-reassuring fetal heart strip, this test is triggered. The cord gas test aims to measure how much oxygen and carbon dioxide is found in the baby’s blood. These two elements impact the blood’s acidity, or pH levels. Acidity in the blood is when the blood cells are changing, which in turn suggests that the baby is suffering from a lack of oxygen. A lack of oxygen can onset fetal hypoxia, or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, which can then lead to a cerebral palsy diagnosis in some instances.

Development Testing: This test is conducted to track the progression of meeting certain milestones. Due to some children going through the early months of life with hidden symptoms, parents are alerted to potential issues due to the child’s inability to meet certain milestones (ex. Crawling).
Reflex Testing: This test observes the child’s reflexes. Due to cerebral palsy affecting the motor system, this test is essential.
Hearing Impairment Testing
Visual Impairment Testing
Speech Impairment Testing

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