Sporadic chorea

I. Piccolo, C. A. Defanti, P. Soliveri, F. Girotti, M. G. Volontè, G. Cislaghi, M. Pederzoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To describe differing etiologies and possible anatomo-clinical correlates of sporadic choreic movements in a series of patients admitted to the neurology departments of our hospitals. Methods; We analyzed the clinical records and neuroimaging data of 42 consecutive patients who developed sporadic focal, multifocal and generalized choreic movements from January 1994 to October 1998. Afer the case review, the patients were re-assessed clinically and those who still had chorea were asked to undergo the genetic tests for Huntington's disease and denatorubropallidoluysian atrophy, and if not performed previously, patients were also tested for blood and urine copper, ceruloplasmin, antiphospholipid and other autoantibodies, and acanthocytes. Results: Two patients who manifested generalized chorea and muscle hypotonia without neuropsychological symptoms or family history were positive for Huntington's disease; they were diagnosed as having the late onset form of the disease. The other re-assessed choreic patients were all negative for the genetic and other tests. Analysis of the records of these patients permitted etiological classification as follows: drug-induced chorea (6 patients), chorea in association with vascular encephalopathy (20 patients), chorea-vasculitis (1 patient), Sydenham's chorea (1 patient), AIDS-related (5 patients) and miscellaneous (7 patients) when we were unable to assign a cause for the chorea neither etiological factors nor neuroradiological alterations were found. Conclusions: Sporadic chorea is not rare among neurological department admissions; only in a minority of cases the chorea is attributable to gross basal ganglia lesions. AIDS is an emerging cause of choreas. It is necessary to define criteria for vascular chorea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280
Number of pages1
JournalItalian Journal of Neurological Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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