Childhood periodic syndromes

Pediatr Neurol. 2010 Jan;42(1):1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2009.07.001.


This review focuses on so-called "periodic syndromes of childhood that are precursors to migraine," as included in the second edition of the International Classification of Headache Disorders. Presentation is characterized by an episodic pattern and intervals of complete health. Benign paroxysmal torticollis is characterized by recurrent episodes of head tilt, secondary to cervical dystonia, with onset between ages 2-8 months. Benign paroxysmal vertigo presents as sudden attacks of vertigo lasting seconds to minutes, accompanied by an inability to stand without support, between ages 2-4 years. Cyclic vomiting syndrome is distinguished by its unique intensity of vomiting, affecting quality of life, whereas abdominal migraine presents as episodic abdominal pain occurring in the absence of headache. Their mean ages of onset are 5 and 7 years, respectively. Diagnostic criteria and appropriate evaluation represent the key issues. Therapeutic recommendations include reassurance, lifestyle changes, and prophylactic as well as acute antimigraine therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology
  • Migraine Disorders / therapy
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain Management
  • Periodicity*
  • Syndrome
  • Torticollis / diagnosis*
  • Torticollis / physiopathology
  • Torticollis / therapy
  • Vertigo / diagnosis*
  • Vertigo / physiopathology
  • Vertigo / therapy
  • Vomiting / diagnosis*
  • Vomiting / physiopathology
  • Vomiting / therapy