Pediatric neurology focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of a broad spectrum of primary and secondary conditions that affect the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and muscle. Advancements in the fields of genetics and neuroimaging during the past few decades have improved the ability to make precise diagnoses in children with neurological conditions. Although pediatric neurology is still considered by some to be chiefly a diagnostic specialty, pediatric neurologists can now offer more symptomatic and disease-modifying treatments. Such therapy can improve symptoms and even alter the trajectory of a child’s life.
From a diagnostic standpoint, vigilant oversight by an informed and experienced clinician remains vital. Timely diagnosis in critical situations can prevent death or lifelong severe impairment. In nonemergency settings, accurate diagnosis can allow access to standard effective treatments or reassurance that no treatment is needed.
Although a substantial proportion of diagnosis and treatment of neurologic conditions occurs in the outpatient setting, patients with acute or chronic neurologic conditions often present to the emergency department and are admitted to the intensive care unit or the hospital floor as a result of exacerbations, complications, inability to function successfully in the home or school environment, or caregiver anxiety. In addition, many patients with new-onset acute or subacute conditions are hospitalized for diagnostic monitoring, supportive care, or acute treatments. Further, patients with primary diseases associated with neurologic sequelae or whose treatments are associated with neurologic adverse effects may present with neurologic complications.
This rotation guide is designed to help residents in both inpatient and outpatient pediatric neurology settings by providing an overview of common diagnoses and suggested management.
This rotation guide covers the following topics:
Other topics related to pediatric neurology are covered in the following rotation guides:
This rotation guide was developed by a collaborative team of contributors including:
Writers: Krista M. Grande, MD
Peer Reviewers: Nimrah Baig, MD; Alexandra M. Butz, MD; Delaney K. Dowd, MD; Francis R. LeBlanc, MD, PhD; Jodie E. Ol Odame, MD; John J. Petosa Jr., MD
Section Expert: Donald L. Gilbert, MD, MS
Senior Editor: Julie Ingelfinger, MD
Last Updated: June 2020 by Ken Wu, MBBS, MRCPCH (NEJM Fellow)