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Neurologia. 2008 May;23(4):215-9.

[Initial signs and symptoms of brain tumors in children].

[Article in Spanish]

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Departamento de Pediatría, Hospital Universitario Doce de Octubre, Madrid, Spain.



This is a study of the presenting features of brain tumors in children, their localization and histology which is aimed at describing the most frequent symptoms at the beginning and at the moment of diagnosis and minimize the time needed to reach a diagnosis.


Retrospective and descriptive study. Data were collected from the medical records of the patients (aged: 0-16) operated on for a brain tumor in our Department from 1999 to 2004. All analyses were conducted with the SPSS 11.0.


In our study, the prevalence of brain tumors was higher in males (58%) older than five years. Of these, 52% were supratentorial and the most frequent one was astrocytome. Median time to diagnosis was 30 days. A total of 75% were diagnosed during the first 60 days of the onset of the symptoms. We found a statistically significant relationship between age and mean time to d i a gnosis. The most frequent initial symptom was increased head circumference and nausea/vomiting in children younger than 2 years, vomiting and headache in children aged 2-5, and headache in older than 5 years. In all groups, 83% of headache was accompanied by vomiting.


Mean time to diagnosis in our study is similar to other series. Presenting features vary based on age and they are not pathognomonic of the brain tumors. This hinders early diagnosis. In order to make an early diagnosis, it is important to pay attention to the associated symptoms and chronology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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