Acquired Torticollis in Hospitalized Children
Alexander Blankstein, Felix Pavlotsky, Hector Roizin, Abraham Ganel, Aharon Chechick
Depts. of Orthopedics, Dermatology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Orthopedics, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer and Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University
Torticollis results from various pathological mechanisms, and its elucidation depends on identifying diseases of musculoskeletal, neural and ocular tissues. This study characterized the underlying diseases of children hospitalized with torticollis, excluding congenital torticollis. Records of 36 children with torticollis seen during 4 years were reviewed and categorized according to presumed etiology. Most could be classified into 2 categories: in 39% it was due to trauma and in 36% to upper respiratory tract infection. Most girls were in the first group and most boys in the second group. There were 3 cases of ocular torticollis due to superior-oblique muscle palsy, 1 with a post-burn eschar, 2 with neurological disorders (intramedullary cervical astrocytoma and leukodystrophy with macrencephaly), and in 3 no associated cause was found. There was a clear seasonal trend with 58% of cases presenting from November through February, 33% from April through July, and the rest, of neurological or ocular origin, during the rest of the year. In cases of post-traumatic torticol21% had neurological symptoms such as weakness of the limbs, headaches or incontinence. Only a few had prior upper respiratory tract infection. All children whose torticollis was assigned to infection had had fever. Only 8% had had neurological complaints or vomiting, half of whom presented with fever exceeding 37.5oC. 46% had restriction of movement and 38% had tenderness. In over 60% of those in this group there were signs of an upper respiratory tract infection, such as lymphadenopathy or a white blood cell count exceeding 15,000/microliter. 3 patients with recurrent torticollis were diagnosed as having severe neurological diseases. Mean hospitalization time was 4 days (range 1-28). Hospitalization periods were similar for all kinds of patients and treatment by traction or fixation did not affect this period.