Systematic Review of Fatigue in Individuals With Cerebral Palsy

Luca Puce, Ilaria Pallecchi, Karim Chamari, Lucio Marinelli, Tiziano Innocenti, Riccardo Pedrini, Laura Mori, Carlo Trompetto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In this systematic review, we collected and analyzed literature works comparing self-reported fatigue and objectively-measured fatigue in individuals with cerebral palsy (CP) and in age-matched typically developing/typically developed (TD) controls (Healthy). The search was conducted on four electronic databases/platforms (PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, and Scopus) using the key words “cerebral palsy” combined with “fatig*,” where the asterisk was used as a wildcard. As a critical appraisal tool, the Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Checklist for Quasi-Experimental Studies (2017) was used. A total of 22 studies passed the critical appraisal rating and were included in both narrative and quantitative analyses. The overall evidence quality of the findings was considered very good. Data of objectively-measured fatigue in performing maximal fatiguing tasks indicated lower fatigue levels in participants with CP, possibly due to their pathological inability to recruit highly fatigable muscle fibers. Highly trained individuals with CP and TD controls performing maximal fatiguing tasks seem to be an exception to this, as they exhibited similar levels of fatigue. In submaximal fatiguing tasks, including daily physical activities, either objectively-measured or self-reported fatigue was higher in participants with CP than in TD controls, indicating a lower ability for development of neurophysiological compensation for fatigue among participants with CP. Further studies on fatigue are needed to gain an insight into the multifold mechanisms of fatigue in individuals with CP. Understanding fatigue mechanisms could help in setting up strategies for effective intervention programs, with benefits in healthcare and improved quality of life of individuals with CP. Systematic Review Registration: [PROSPERO 2019], identifier [CRD42019143524].

Original languageEnglish
Article number598800
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2021


  • cerebral palsy
  • muscle fibers
  • objective fatigue
  • Paralympic athletes
  • self-reported fatigue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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