Pediatric Catatonia: A Case Series-Based Review of Presentation, Evaluation, and Management

Emily M Sorg, Michelle Chaney-Catchpole, Eric P Hazen
Psychosomatics 2018, 59 (6): 531-538

BACKGROUND: Pediatric catatonia is believed to be a rare condition, but challenges in recognition and variability in presentation may lead to underdiagnosis. Early identification and effective treatment of pediatric catatonia is critical given the significant morbidity and mortality associated with the condition. Given the widespread shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists, at times consultation-liaison (C-L) psychiatrists without child training may be the frontline specialty providers asked to guide treatment of these pediatric patients.

OBJECTIVE: To review the literature on pediatric catatonia using clinical cases to illustrate unique aspects of its presentation, evaluation, and management.

METHODS: We describe the presentation and management of 6 adolescents with catatonia on an inpatient pediatric service at a general hospital and use these cases as a focal point for a review of the literature.

CONCLUSION: Pediatric catatonia is a potentially lethal disease entity that can be effectively treated if accurately identified early in its course. Psychiatrists working in a C-L setting may encounter this syndrome and should be aware of its presentation, evaluation, and management.

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