What is Choreoathetosis: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Prognosis

What is Choreoathetosis?

Choreoathetosis is referred to a condition of involuntary movements which consist of athetosis (writhing & twisting) and chorea (irregular migrating contractions).1 Normally, involuntary movements are always occurring in human body. However, sometimes these movements turn into chronic disorders and disability which is a serious condition. Choreoathetosis is defined as a state or physical condition where the involuntary movements occur as a result of combination of chorea and athetosis. Choreoathetosis is a combination of the word “chorea” and the word “athetosis.” Chorea and athetosis are two types of irregular movements that often occur in combination as a same disorder. Chorea is characterized by fast, short, rigorous, unpredictable and irregular muscles jerks.2 The movements of Chorea can be seen in the muscles of the face, limbs or trunk. Athetosis is a movement disorder where the patient has slow twisting movements with uncoordinated forced commonly involving the limbs.3 These movements can also affect the facial muscles.

Choreoathetosis commonly develops as a result of sudden infections, disorders or injuries in the muscle movement. Choreoathetosis can occur chronically or acutely. It can be transient or a permanent phenomenon in a patient’s life. Choreoathetosis can affect the patient’s limb movements, ability to talk, changing position and walking.

What are the Symptoms of Choreoathetosis?

There are easily identifiable symptoms of Choreoathetosis. People when doing work use specific muscles and body parts to do work; and even after stopping that work, their muscles and body continues to carry on movements. This type of involuntary movements cannot be stopped. Symptoms of Choreoathetosis consist of continuous involuntary twitching, abnormal and involuntary movements of the body or specific parts of body, and consistent writhing movements. Patients with Choreoathetosis have difficulty controlling their movements and are not in control of how their body moves.

What are the Causes of Choreoathetosis?

What are the Causes of Choreoathetosis?

Choreoathetosis is considered to be one of the dangerous muscle disorders which can affect anyone regardless of sex and age. However, individuals over the age of 15 years and who are up to 35 years old are at increased risk for developing choreoathetosis. Some of the causes of choreoathetosis are: trauma, chorea gravidarum, tumors, cerebral palsy, extrapyramidal disease, Huntington’s disorder, Sydenham’s chorea, ataxia-telangiectasia and kernicterus etc.

What is the Treatment of Choreoathetosis?

The treatment for choreoathetosis treatment can be classified into multiple important sessions and categories to make it more effective for patients. Smaller doses of medicines, such as phenytoin and carbamazepine, can be highly effective in treating choreoathetosis; however, these medicines should be given according to the patient’s physical condition. CNS stimulants, muscle development steroids and supplements are also used by some doctors. Research is still going on to develop targeted therapies which can cure choreoathetosis instead of just managing the symptoms of this disease.

What is the Prognosis or Outlook of Choreoathetosis?

Choreoathetosis is considered a chronic and the most dangerous movement disorder as this condition directly affects the muscles, joints, bones and the tissues. Patients suffering from Choreoathetosis have to struggle to move properly and naturally. Choreoathetosis can be very severe and can cause permanent disability in the patient.


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