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Outcome for children with cyclical vomiting syndrome
  1. E Fitzpatrick,
  2. B Bourke,
  3. B Drumm,
  4. M Rowland
  1. UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, The Children's Research Centre Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Dr Marion Rowland, UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, The Children’s Research Centre, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin 12, Ireland; marion.rowland{at}


Objective: Cyclical vomiting syndrome (CVS) is a disorder that carries a significant burden of disease for children and their families. The aim of this study was to examine the outcome of a group of children diagnosed with CVS from 1993 to 2003.

Methods: Children diagnosed with CVS over a 10-year period were identified and a review of the clinical records was carried out to define demographic features and the spectrum of disease at presentation. The patient’s parent was contacted to establish the child’s current well-being. Ethical approval for the study was obtained.

Results: Fifty one children were diagnosed with CVS and 41 agreed to participate in follow-up. Mean age was 5.8 (SD 3.3) years at onset of CVS, 8.2 (SD 3.5) years at diagnosis, and 12.8 (SD 4.8) years at follow-up. Vomiting had resolved at the time of follow-up in 25/41 (61%) children. Sixteen of 41 (39%) children reported resolution of symptoms either immediately or within weeks of diagnosis. However, a large number of children from the group whose vomiting resolved and the group that were still vomiting continued to have somatic symptoms, with 42% of children suffering regular headaches and 37% having abdominal pain. 32 (78%) parents felt that the provision of a positive diagnosis and information made a significant impact on the severity of vomiting.

Conclusions: While 60% of children with CVS have resolution of symptoms, a significant proportion of both those in whom symptoms have resolved and those in whom vomiting persists continue to suffer from other somatic symptoms.

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  • Financial disclosures: None.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Abbreviations:
    cyclical vomiting syndrome
    standard deviation

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    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health