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Diencephalic syndrome: a rare cause of failure to thrive


Timely diagnosis of diencephalic syndrome is not often the case for patients presenting with failure to thrive (FTT) because of its rarity and lack of specific symptoms. Herein, we report two cases of diencephalic syndrome (2-year-old girl and 10-month-old boy) presenting with severe emaciation. Both patients had histories of poor weight gain for months despite having good appetites prior to diagnosis. Initial work-up did not reveal the diagnosis. Horizontal nystagmus was noted in both patients: by a neurologist in the first patient and by a family member in the second patient. MRI of the brain showed large suprasellar mass and pilocytic astrocytoma was confirmed by pathology in each case. The patients were started on appropriate chemotherapy with interval improvements in weight gain. These cases illustrate the importance of cranial imaging and consideration of diencephalic syndrome for children presenting with FTT despite normal or increased caloric intake.

  • failure to thrive
  • infant health

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