To describe three cases of sleep related, idiopathic rhythmic movement disorder (RMD) with atypical headbanging, consisting of head punching and head slapping.
Three consecutive patients (2 males [11 and 13 years old) and one female [22 years old]) presented with atypical headbanging of 6 years, 7 years, and 17 years duration. In 2 cases, typical rhythmic headbanging (with use of the head) shifted after 3-4 years to atypical headbanging, with frontal head punching that was quasi-rhythmic. In one case, atypical headbanging (head-slapping) was the initial and only RMD. There was no injury from the headbanging. Prenatal, perinatal, developmental, behavioral-psychological, medical-neurological, and family histories were negative. Clinical evaluations and nocturnal video-polysomnography with seizure montage were performed on all patients.
Atypical headbanging was documented in all 3 cases; episodes always emerged late in the sleep cycle: from N2 sleep in 11 episodes, from REM sleep in 4 episodes, and from N1 sleep in 1 episode. Epileptiform activity was not detected. Clonazepam therapy was substantially effective in 1 case but not effective in 2 cases.
These 3 cases of idiopathic atypical headbanging expand the literature on this RMD variant, as to our knowledge only one previously documented case has been reported.
Yeh SB; Schenck CH. Atypical headbanging presentation of idiopathic sleep related rhythmic movement disorder: three cases with video-polysomnographic documentation. J Clin Sleep Med 2012;8(4):403-411.