A reversible generalized movement disorder in critically ill children with cancer

Raja B. Khan, Jeffrey E. Schmidt, Robert F. Tamburro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: Some children treated for cancer become critically ill because of immune suppression and sepsis requiring prolonged intensive care support and assisted ventilation. Methods: Over a 3-year-period, we have identified six children (four with brain tumors) who developed a generalized movement disorder during a protracted intensive care unit stay. Median age was 2 years (range 1-6 years). Movement disorder developed while receiving multiple medications. Results: Sedation was achieved with midazolam and opioid infusions. Dystonic posturing of limbs, jaw movements, tongue thrusting, and intermittent eye deviations were present in all. Movements increased if the child was stimulated and an electroencephalogram performed in five children excluded seizures. Conclusions: This movement disorder should be differentiated from seizures to prevent inappropriate treatment. Exacerbation with stimulation is a clinical clue to the correct diagnosis and an electroencephalogram can help differentiate this movement disorder from seizures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-149
Number of pages4
JournalNeurocritical Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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