31 March 2008

Clinic redux

Last Friday I shadowed an outpatient neurology clinic as I do once or twice a month; here are the highlights.

1. Childhood narcolepsy. This is diagnosed using a sleep latency test; abnormally quick decent into slow wave sleep indicated narcolepsy. Unfortunately, the normative data for children doesn't exist so it can be hard to definitively diagnose. An EEG is also a good idea to rule out seizures.

2. Autism. I've never seen autism to this degree before; the appointment was because of an increase in obstinate behavior. The child was barking intermittently and would lunge for any paper he saw (to eat it). He was pulling the threads out of his sweater and eating those too. The parents looked haggard and completely worn out; dad would jump at the slightest noise. Three clinicians saw the boy together to determine whether antipsychotics should be started or whether the current medications should simply have their doses tweaked.

3. Refractory status epilepticus. An adopted child who has failed five different kinds of anticonvulsants. In the last two weeks there have been no seizures, but the week prior there were two: 75 and 90 minutes in duration. An MRI and overnight EEG are on the table as the first step towards consideration of neurosurgery.

4. Cerebral palsy. Not usually something we see unless it's part of a larger issue, which, in this case, it was. We just don't know what the larger issue is. The part I want to bring up is that the leg muscles can get tight and force the knees to turn inwards. This realigns the hips; if left uncorrected, the hips can become painfully and permanently displaced.

5. Absence seizures with syncope. I have now met two children with this seizure type: they lose consciousness for the duration of their seizure. Invariably they are worked up by cardiology first and when they don't find anything, they send them to us and we hook them up to an EEG.

No comments: