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Objective: To educate providers to recognize the clinical presentation of neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) in young children.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of 22 children with NF2 from 4 tertiary care NF referral centers was performed. Age and signs/symptoms at initial presentation, age at NF2 diagnosis, family history, clinical/radiographic NF2 features, NF2 genetic testing results, and treatments were assessed.

Results: The average age at initial clinical presentation was 48.1 months, while the average age at NF2 diagnosis was 77.2 months. Children with a family history of NF2 (23%) tended to present earlier (mean 39.2 vs 50.7 months) and have shorter times to NF2 diagnosis (mean 1.6 vs 37.2 months). Vision/eye complaints (n = 9; 41%) were the most commonly reported presenting signs/symptoms. Meningiomas (n = 7; 32%) and ocular abnormalities (n = 5; 23%) were the most frequently identified initial NF2 features. Vestibular (n = 17; 77%) and peripheral (n = 15; 68%) schwannomas were the most common abnormalities encountered over the study period. Seventeen (77%) children required treatment, most frequently for vestibular schwannomas (n = 9; 41%), peripheral schwannomas (n = 7; 32%), and meningiomas (n = 7; 32%). Genetic testing was available for 13 individuals, in whom nonsense mutations were most commonly identified (n = 7; 54%).

Conclusions: Although uncommon, a substantial number of individuals with NF2 come to medical attention in early childhood. The finding of meningioma or characteristic ocular abnormalities (retinal hamartomas and epiretinal membranes) in young children should raise clinical suspicion for NF2 and prompt immediate referral to appropriate specialists for diagnosis and management.

(C) 2019 American Academy of Neurology