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Paroxysmal Sympathetic Hyperactivity in Pediatric Rehabilitation: Clinical Factors and Acute Pharmacological Management.

OBJECTIVE: Paroxysmal sympathetic hyperactivity (PSH) is widely described as occurring during intensive care, but in a number of patients it may last longer into the rehabilitation phase. Furthermore, drug therapy has been based on isolated observations. In this study, our aims are to describe a group of 26 pediatric rehabilitation patients with PSH and to quantify the effect of several drugs used to suppress PSH episodes.

SETTING: Neurorehabilitation unit of IRCCS Eugenio Medea, Bosisio Parini (LC), Italy.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 407 pediatric patients with postacute acquired brain injury, 26 of which had PSH.

DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.

MAIN MEASURES: Descriptive demographic and clinical data. Odds ratios quantification of the efficacy of drug therapies administered acutely to suppress PSH episodes.

RESULTS: PSH was associated with a longer duration of coma and a greater incidence of death. When administered acutely to suppress PSH episodes, the best drugs were clonazepam, hydroxyzine, and delorazepam, while analgesic drugs showed little efficacy.

CONCLUSIONS: PSH, whether causative or not, is associated with a worse long-term course in rehabilitation. Clinical management of PSH may be helped by a number of acutely administered drug therapies.

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