Crossing barriers: a multidisciplinary approach to children and adults with young-onset movement disorders

Martje E van Egmond, Hendriekje Eggink, Anouk Kuiper, Deborah A Sival, Corien C Verschuuren-Bemelmans, Marina A J Tijssen, Tom J de Koning

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Background: Diagnosis of less common young-onset movement disorders is often challenging, requiring a broad spectrum of skills of clinicians regarding phenotyping, normal and abnormal development and the wide range of possible acquired and genetic etiologies. This complexity often leads to considerable diagnostic delays, paralleled by uncertainty for patients and their families. Therefore, we hypothesized that these patients might benefit from a multidisciplinary approach. We report on the first 100 young-onset movement disorders patients who visited our multidisciplinary outpatient clinic.

Methods: Clinical data were obtained from the medical records of patients with disease-onset before age 18 years. We investigated whether the multidisciplinary team, consisting of a movement disorder specialist, pediatric neurologist, pediatrician for inborn errors of metabolism and clinical geneticist, revised the movement disorder classification, etiological diagnosis, and/or treatment.

Results: The 100 referred patients (56 males) had a mean age of 12.5 ± 6.3 years and mean disease duration of 9.2 ± 6.3 years. Movement disorder classification was revised in 58/100 patients. Particularly dystonia and myoclonus were recognized frequently and supported by neurophysiological testing in 24/29 patients. Etiological diagnoses were made in 24/71 (34%) formerly undiagnosed patients, predominantly in the genetic domain. Treatment strategy was adjusted in 60 patients, of whom 43 (72%) reported a subjective positive effect.

Conclusions: This exploratory study demonstrates that a dedicated tertiary multidisciplinary approach to complex young-onset movement disorders may facilitate phenotyping and improve recognition of rare disorders, with a high diagnostic yield and minimal diagnostic delay. Future studies are needed to investigate the cost-benefit ratio of a multidisciplinary approach in comparison to regular subspecialty care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
JournalJournal of clinical movement disorders
Publication statusPublished - 6-Apr-2018


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