This study provides Class IV evidence that the proposed 2016 diagnostic criteria for anti-NMDA receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis in children have a sensitivity of 81.2% and a specificity of 76.9%.
Physicians should start immunomodulatory therapy when their patients fulfill the diagnostic criteria, but should concurrently continue to differentially diagnose patients.
Why this matters
More than one-third of patients with anti-NMDAR encephalitis are children.
The 2016 diagnostic criteria for autoimmune encephalitis, including probable and definite anti-NMDAR encephalitis, was proposed to promote early immunological intervention.
However, symptoms in pediatric patients can vary from those in adult patients and neurological assessment is difficult in some pediatric patients.
This study provides evidence for the validity and application of the 2016 diagnostic criteria in pediatric patients.