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Shudders in 23mo
Gabriellasmom_11 posted:
My 23 month old daughter was seen today by a PA for her odd shaking of her torso and head at weird times. We had blood drawn and her WBC is normal and a urine sample came back and everything was normal. i was told that it may be shudder syndrome and i have no idea what it is. i will be going to see a pediatrician soon but, should i be worried? what is shudders syndrome??
Roy Benaroch, MD responded:
Shuddering attacks (sometimes called "shuddering spells") are not super-common, but they're not super-uncommon either. I see at least a few kids with this each year.

Shuddering usually appears in babies and young children. They'll suddenly bend their necks or trunks, and have a shiver-like movement-- almost as if they're having a chill. The body may briefly stiffen. During the event, the child is completely conscious and interactive (though sometimes with babies this is hard to confirm.) The episode usually lasts about 5 seconds, and afterwards the child is completely fine.

Though shuddering itself is completely normal and benign, and never means that there is a problem, it can be concerning to parents when it's not clear what's going on. In some ways, a shudder can seem like a very brief seizure, but there are some big differences. Shudders, unlike seizures, never happen during sleep. After most seizures, a child experiences a period of sleepiness. And shudders themselves have such a characteristic movement that once they're seen, they can be easy to recognize.

Sometimes, I've asked parents of children who may be having shudders (or other weird movements) to try to capture the event on a video. In fact, there are several examples posted on youtube, like this one .

You'll want to discuss this with your pediatrician, and if there is any question about the diagnosis a referral to a pediatric neurologist can be helpful for reassurance. It sounds like the PA suspects these are shudders, which really isn't anything to worry about once confirmed.

Best of luck!

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