July 12, 2013

PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus)

Only in kids, there is a VERY rare (and controversial) disorder where strep throat infections can rapidly lead to involuntary tics including chronic throat clearing, cough, head/neck movements, sneeze, etc as well as OCD behavior. Known as PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus), it is felt to be an autoimmune reaction triggered by antibodies produced by the body when fighting a strep infection. With this disorder, an evaluation with a pediatric neurologist is warranted.

However, what role if any an ENT may play is less certain. Obviously, the main ENT related concern is whether tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy is helpful.

Certainly, this surgery should be pursued if the child meets the guidelines of when T&A should be performed from an infectious standpoint in any child:

• 7 or more tonsil/strep infections within past 12 months OR
• 5 infections in each of the last 2 years OR
• 3 infections in each of the last 3 years

However, it has been demonstrated that T&A does NOT seem to affect the onset nor influence the neuropsychiatric course of a child suffering from PANDAS.

According to one research, no significant differences were found between children who had T&A and those who did not in terms of PANDAS classification, and OCD or tic severity. In fact, most children with PANDAS had surgery before onset of neuropsychiatric symptoms and surgery did not affect symptomology.

More info about PANDAS can be found here.

To find a doctor who is familiar with PANDAS, click here.

Watch a video showing how a tonsillectomy is performed here!

Tonsillectomies and Adenoidectomies Do Not Prevent the Onset of Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Group A Streptococcus. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2013 Mar 20. [Epub ahead of print]

PANDAS: A systematic review of treatment options. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2016 Oct;89:149-53. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2016.08.008. Epub 2016 Aug 12.
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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