Medical Definition of PANDAS

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

PANDAS: An acronym for Pediatric Autoimmune Disorders Associated with Strep.

PANDAS is the sudden onset of symptoms like those of obsessive-compulsive disorder or Tourette syndrome following infection with streptococcus bacteria, caused by an autoimmune reaction that affects the basal ganglia in the brain. If tics are seen, they may or may not be choreaform like those of Sydenham chorea, a closely related condition that can follow a bout of rheumatic fever, which is caused by the streptococcus bacteria.

Diagnosis is primarily by observation, although a blood marker for the disorder has been identified. Treatment is by plasmapheresis or intravenous immunoglobulin, prophylactic antibiotics, and/or medication for specific symptoms.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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