Isaacs syndrome: A review

Muscle Nerve. 2015 Jul;52(1):5-12. doi: 10.1002/mus.24632. Epub 2015 Mar 31.


Isaacs syndrome is a peripheral nerve hyperexcitability (PNH) syndrome that presents as continuous motor activity. Clinical findings include cramps, fasciculations, and myokymia. Electrodiagnosis plays a key role in diagnosis by demonstrating after-discharges on nerve conduction studies, and fasciculation potentials, myokymic discharges, neuromyotonic discharges, and other types of abnormal spontaneous activity on needle examination. Etiopathogenesis involves the interaction of genetic, autoimmune, and paraneoplastic factors, which requires a broad-ranging evaluation for underlying causes. Initial treatment is symptomatic, but immune therapy is often needed and can be effective. The purpose of this review is to describe the syndrome and its pathogenesis, assist the reader in evaluating patients with suspected Isaacs syndrome and distinguishing it from other disorders of PNH, and suggest an approach to management, including both symptomatic and immunomodulating therapy.

Keywords: Isaacs syndrome; autoimmune disorders; neuromyotonia; paraneoplastic disorders; peripheral nerve hyperexcitability.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease Management*
  • Humans
  • Isaacs Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Isaacs Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Isaacs Syndrome / genetics
  • Isaacs Syndrome / therapy*