Journal of Clinical Pediatrics ›› 2023, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (9): 644-649.doi: 10.12372/jcp.2023.23e0455

• Expert Review • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Beware of the pitfalls in diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune encephalitis in children

ZHANG Weihua1,4, ZOU Liping2(), REN Haitao3, GUAN Hongzhi3   

  1. 1. Beijing Children’s Hospital, Capital Medical University, National Centre for Children’s Health, Beijing 100045, China
    2. Department of Pediatrics, Chinese People's Liberation Army General Hospital, Beijing 100039, China
    3. Department of Neurology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing 100005, China
    4. Henan Neurodevelopment Engineering Research Center for Children, Henan Children's Hospital, Zhengzhou Children's Hospital, Children's Hospital Affiliated to Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou 450018, Henan, China
  • Received:2022-11-29 Online:2023-09-15 Published:2023-09-05
  • Contact: ZOU Liping


Over the past 15 years, the development of antibody detection technology led to the increased awareness of autoimmune encephalitis. However, the innovation has also brought about a certain proportion of misdiagnosis, and some patients have been treated improperly as a result. The main reasons for misdiagnosis include lax implementation of diagnostic criteria, incorrect interpretation of antibody test results, and insufficient differential diagnosis. Compared with adults, the symptoms of children with autoimmune encephalitis are more difficult to identify, and there are antibody spectrum and characteristics that are different from those of adults. The differential diagnosis of the disease involves a wider range, and its diagnosis and treatment face greater challenges. This article will summarize the diagnosis and treatment process of autoimmune encephalitis in children based on the current situation in China. The related pitfalls of diagnosis and treatment are interpreted and analyzed in order to help pediatricians improve accurate diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune encephalitis.

Key words: autoimmune encephalitis, diagnosis, therapy, child