Shuddering attacks are not related to essential tremor

J Child Neurol. 2010 Jul;25(7):881-3. doi: 10.1177/0883073809350222. Epub 2010 Jun 2.


Shuddering attacks are benign shivering movements occurring in young children. The etiology is unknown; however, a relationship to essential tremor has been postulated. A series of 12 consecutive children were identified over a 6-year period ending January 1, 2007. Shuddering attacks were diagnosed based on descriptive history and videotape review. Their referral diagnosis was epilepsy in 7 (58%) and movement disorder in 5 (42%). The referring physician never suspected the diagnosis. The age of onset ranged from 8 months to 2 years (mean 13 months). Family history was negative for essential tremor. None had epileptiform discharges on electroencephalography (EEG). All children were followed for 2 to 8 years (mean 6.3). Complete remission was noted by 3 to 7 years (mean 5.6) of age, and none had subsequent tremor during follow-up. In conclusion, shuddering attacks are frequently misdiagnosed leading to unnecessary investigations or treatment. No association with essential tremor was found neither in the child nor in the family.

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis
  • Essential Tremor / complications*
  • Essential Tremor / diagnosis
  • Family
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Movement Disorders / complications*
  • Movement Disorders / diagnosis
  • Movement Disorders / physiopathology
  • Shivering*
  • Video Recording