Diagnostic approach to paediatric movement disorders: a clinical practice guide

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2021 Mar;63(3):252-258. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.14721. Epub 2020 Nov 5.


Paediatric movement disorders (PMDs) comprise a large group of disorders (tics, myoclonus, tremor, dystonia, chorea, Parkinsonism, ataxia), often with mixed phenotypes. Determination of the underlying aetiology can be difficult given the broad differential diagnosis and the complexity of the genotype-phenotype relationships. This can make the diagnostic process time-consuming and difficult. In this overview, we present a diagnostic approach for PMDs, with emphasis on genetic causes. This approach can serve as a framework to lead the clinician through the diagnostic process in eight consecutive steps, including recognition of the different movement disorders, identification of a clinical syndrome, consideration of acquired causes, genetic testing including next-generation sequencing, post-sequencing phenotyping, and interpretation of test results. The aim of this approach is to increase the recognition and diagnostic yield in PMDs. WHAT THIS PAPER ADDS: An up-to-date description and diagnostic framework for testing of paediatric movement disorders is presented. The framework helps to determine which patients will benefit from next-generation sequencing.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ataxia / diagnosis*
  • Child
  • Chorea / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dystonia / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Movement Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Pediatrics
  • Phenotype