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Investigating ataxia in childhood
  1. Emily Petley1,
  2. Manish Prasad2,
  3. Shalini Ojha1,3,
  4. William P Whitehouse1,2
  1. 1 Academic Division of Child Health, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  2. 2 Nottingham Children’s Hospital, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK
  3. 3 Derbyshire Children's Hospital, Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Derby, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr William P Whitehouse, Academic Division of Child Health, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK; william.whitehouse{at}


Ataxia is a common presentation to an acute paediatric unit and it can often be difficult to determine the cause. It is important to distinguish between serious causes, for example, brain tumours and encephalitis, and more benign causes in order to guide investigations and treatment. In this review, we describe the different types of ataxia, the causes associated with them, the examination findings and what investigations to perform in order to make a diagnosis.

  • neurology
  • general paediatrics
  • accident and emergency

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  • Correction notice This paper has been corrected since it was published Online First. An incorrect reference list was originally submitted and this has now been updated.

  • Contributors EP wrote the main manuscript. WPW, MP and SO reviewed and amended the manuscript. The final manuscript was approved by EP, MP, SO and WPW.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement There are no data in this work.