Tip 61: benign sleep myoclonus

Neonatal benign sleep myoclonus is a common non-epileptic condition, starting between day one and three weeks of age. It normally subsides by a few months of age, with no treatment needed.

The myoclonic jerks, mainly affecting the distal upper limbs, can be unilateral or bilateral, and usually last for 10–20 seconds. Sleep is not disturbed and they stop abruptly when the baby is awakened. There are no other clinical manifestations of neonatal seizures.

Reference: Panayiotopoulos, C.P., 2005. The Epilepsies: Seizures, Syndromes and Management. Chapter 5, Neonatal Seizures and Neonatal Syndromes. Oxfordshire (UK): Bladon Medical Publishing.

Previously published: 07/03/14, 06/01/15

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