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Cyclical vomiting syndrome in children: a prospective study


Address for Correspondence
Marion Rowland, Dublin Academic Medical Centre, 23 Nelson Street, Dublin 7, Ireland.
Tel: +353 1 716 6308; fax: +353 1 716 6355;


Background  Cyclical vomiting syndrome (CVS) is a disorder that affects all ages and is characterized by episodes of severe nausea and vomiting with symptom-free intervals between episodes. The incidence in children is 3.15/100 000 children per year. Our objective was to evaluate the natural history of CVS and examine factors that predict symptom resolution.

Methods  Thirty newly diagnosed children (mean 9.15 years, SD 3.31 range 3.5–15.7) were enrolled. All children had a follow-up interview at 3 months, 27/30 at 6 months, and 22/30 at 9 months.

Key Results  Following diagnosis of CVS, only 5/22(22.7%) children had no further episodes of vomiting at 9 months, whereas 17/22 (77.3%) continued to vomit. In the year prior to diagnosis, 15/30 (50%) children were admitted to hospital. Of the 22 children with follow-up for 9 months, only one child required hospital admission. Children who continued to vomit had higher internalizing scores on CBCL compared with those who stopped vomiting (P = NS). The Pediatric Quality-of-Life Score suggested those who continued to vomit had a poorer quality of life at diagnosis compared with those who stopped vomiting (P < 0.05).

Conclusions & Inferences  Making a positive diagnosis of CVS and providing families with information is very important in the management of CVS. Although 75% of children reported regular episodes of vomiting 9 months after diagnosis, there was a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of symptoms in addition to a marked reduction in the use of medical services.