Paroxysmal dyskinesias: clinical features and classification

Ann Neurol. 1995 Oct;38(4):571-9. doi: 10.1002/ana.410380405.


We studied 46 patients with paroxysmal dyskinesia and classified them according to phenomenology, duration of attacks, and etiology. There were 13 patients, 7 females, who had paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia (PKD), 10 with attacks lasting 5 minutes or less (short lasting) and 3 with attacks lasting longer than 5 minutes (long lasting). Twenty-six patients, 18 females, had paroxysmal nonkinesigenic dyskinesia (PNKD), 9 with short-lasting and 17 with long-lasting PNKD. Five patients, 3 females, had paroxysmal exertion-induced dyskinesia (PED), 3 with short-lasting PED and the other 2 with long-lasting PED. In addition, there was 1 patient with paroxysmal hypnogenic dyskinesia (PHD) and 1 with paroxysmal superior oblique myokymia. Only 2 patients, 1 with PKD and 1 with PHD, had family history of paroxysmal dyskinesias. No specific cause could be identified in 21 patients; in the other 23 patients the etiologies included the following: psychogenic (9 patients), cerebrovascular diseases (4), multiple sclerosis (2), encephalitis (2), cerebral trauma (2), peripheral trauma (2), migraine (1), and kernicterus (1). Nine of 10 (90%) patients with PKD improved with medications, mostly anticonvulsants, compared with only 7 of 19 (37%) with PNKD. This new classification, based chiefly on precipitating events, allowed appropriate categorization of the attacks in all our patients with paroxysmal dyskinesias.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement Disorders / classification*
  • Movement Disorders / drug therapy
  • Movement Disorders / physiopathology*