Center for Sleep Medicine and the Departments of Pediatrics and Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
To describe our experience regarding the clinical and polysomnographic features of REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) in childhood.
This was a retrospective chart review of children and adolescents with RBD and REM sleep without atonia. Demographics, and clinical and polysomnographic information were tabulated. Our findings were compared with those in the existing literature.
The 15 subjects identified (13 RBD and 2 having REM sleep without atonia) had a mean age at diagnosis of 9.5 years (range 3-17 years); 11/15 (73%) were male. Nightmares were reported in 13/15 and excessive daytime sleepiness in 6/15. Two children had caused bodily harm to bedmate siblings. Comorbidities, which were multiple in some subjects, included anxiety (8/15), attention deficit disorder (10/15), nonspecific developmental delay (6/15), Smith-Magenis syndrome (1/15), pervasive developmental disorder (1/15), narcolepsy (1/15), idiopathic hypersomnia (1/15), and Moebius Syndrome (1/15). Abnormal MRI scans were seen in 5/8 evaluated subjects. Treatments consisted of clonazepam (10/15), melatonin (2/15), and discontinuation of a tricyclic agent (1/15), with a favorable response in 11 of 13. Two of 15 patients with REM sleep without atonia did not require pharmacotherapy.
RBD in children may be associated with neurodevelopmental disabilities, narcolepsy, or medication use. It seems to be modestly responsive to benzodiazepines or melatonin. The etiology is distinct from that of common childhood arousal parasomnias and RBD in adults; congenital and neurodevelopmental disorders, medication effect, and narcolepsy coexisted in some, but none had an extrapyramidal neurodegenerative disorder.
Lloyd R; Tippmann-Peikert M; Slocumb N; Kotagal S. Characteristics of REM sleep behavior disorder in childhood. J Clin Sleep Med 2012;8(2):127-131.