Background: Paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia (PKD) is a rare disorder characterized by short episodes of involuntary movement attacks triggered by sudden voluntary movements. Although a genetic basis is suspected in idiopathic cases, the gene has not been discovered. Establishing strict diagnostic criteria will help genetic studies.
Methods: The authors reviewed the clinical features of 121 affected individuals, who were referred for genetic study with a presumptive diagnosis of idiopathic PKD.
Results: The majority (79%) of affected subjects had a distinctive homogeneous phenotype. The authors propose the following diagnostic criteria for idiopathic PKD based on this phenotype: identified trigger for the attacks (sudden movements), short duration of attacks (<1 minute), lack of loss of consciousness or pain during attacks, antiepileptic drug responsiveness, exclusion of other organic diseases, and age at onset between 1 and 20 years if there is no family history (age at onset may be applied less stringently in those with family history). In comparing familial and sporadic cases, sporadic cases were more frequently male, and infantile convulsions were more common in the familial kindreds. Females had a higher remission rate than males. An infantile-onset group with a different set of characteristics was identified. A clear kinesigenic trigger was not elicited in all cases, antiepileptic response was not universal, and some infants had attacks while asleep.
Conclusions: The diagnosis of idiopathic paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia (PKD) can be made based on historical features. The correct diagnosis has implications for treatment and prognosis, and the diagnostic scheme may allow better focus in the search for the PKD gene(s).