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Long-term outcomes of functional neurological disorder in children

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Rob ForsythORCiD



This is the of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by BMJ Publishing Group, 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.Objectives: To establish the incidence and long-term outcomes (up to 21 years) of children presenting to a University hospital paediatric neurology service with symptoms due to functional neurological disorder (FND) with particular reference to occurrence of FND or similar symptoms in adulthood. Methods: Retrospective chart review to determine characteristics of the original paediatric FND presentation plus record-linkage with providers of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. Chart review of adult medical records for documentation of functional symptoms in adulthood. Results: 124 individuals (56% female) met entry criteria. The most common presentations were seizures (18%), sensory loss (18%) and motor symptoms (16%). Frequency gradually increased with age of onset with an incidence in paediatric neurological services of 6 per 100 000 children under 16. In up to 21 years' follow-up (median 8.3 years), 114/124 attained their 16th birthdays by the study census date and were thus eligible for inclusion in an analysis of symptom persistence/recurrence in adulthood. 26/114 (23%) showed evidence of FND in adulthood of sufficient significance to be recorded in medical records. Conclusion: Paediatric FND is commoner than previous estimates. Even in this selected population of children reaching specialist paediatric neurology services, a high long-term remission rate is observed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Raper J, Currigan V, Fothergill S, Stone J, Forsyth RJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Archives of Disease in Childhood

Year: 2019

Volume: 104

Issue: 12

Pages: 1155-1160

Print publication date: 20/11/2019

Online publication date: 20/07/2019

Acceptance date: 02/07/2019

Date deposited: 03/07/2019

ISSN (print): 0003-9888

ISSN (electronic): 1468-2044

Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1136/archdischild-2018-316519


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