Background: Pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS) is diagnosed by the abrupt onset of new obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or food-restricting symptoms, and at least two of a variety of other neuropsychiatric symptoms. Detailed clinical presentation of youth with this condition has not yet been provided in the literature.
Methods: We review the clinical charts of five youth meeting criteria for PANS in our PANS Clinic. These five patients were selected for differing underlying causes thought to be driving an inflammatory response that appeared to impact psychiatric symptoms.
Results: Five youth with varying potential etiologies impacting neuropsychiatric symptoms were identified. These youth were from 8 to 18 years old at the onset of their PANS illness, and had bacterial, autoimmune, and unknown etiologies. Treatment directed at presumed etiologies ranged from antibiotics to intravenous gamma globulin (IVIG) to other immunomodulatory regimens, and appeared to improve the psychiatric illness.
Conclusions: Youth with PANS may present in differing ways, with psychiatric and physical symptoms overlapping with inflammatory or infectious diseases, pain syndromes, and other psychiatric diagnoses. Patients' psychiatric symptoms may respond to treatments targeting the underlying cause of physical illness. Faced with a pediatric patient demonstrating the abrupt onset or exacerbation of psychiatric and physical symptoms, clinicians should consider PANS in their differential diagnosis.