E-Pearl of the Week: The exploding head syndrome

February 22, 2013

Share:

Interested in submitting an e–Pearl? Click here!

Brought to you by the Resident and Fellow Section of Neurology®.

February 21, 2013

The exploding head syndrome

The exploding head syndrome is a curious phenomenon in which patients describe a frightening loud noise which they experience as they are falling asleep or less frequently the noise awakens them from sleep.  Patients describe the noise as loud violent bang, a bomb explosion, shotgun, thunderclap, enormous roar or crack of lightning and so on.  These phenomena are followed by fear, terror and palpitations or a forceful heartbeat. They may recur several times each night or may be more occasional. Although extremely disturbing to the patient, the exploding head syndrome is usually a benign condition.

References

  1. Pearce, JMS.  Clinical features of the exploding head syndrome.  JNNP 1989; 52:  907–910.

Submitted by: John McKinley MRCP (UK), Fellow in Movement Disorders, Dublin, Ireland

Disclosure: Dr. McKinley reports no disclosures.

For more clinical pearls and other articles of interest to neurology trainees, visit www.neurology.org and click on the link to the Resident and Fellow Pages. Click here to visit the E–Pearl of the Week Archive.

Click here to listen to this week's Neurology® Podcast.