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Diseases » Sydenham chorea » Summary

What is Sydenham chorea?

What is Sydenham chorea?

  • Sydenham chorea: Brain disease causing involuntary movements or spasms.
  • Sydenham chorea: WHAT: Chorea. Chorea (Sydenham's): a neurological disorder characterized by purposeless, rapid, involuntary movements, emotional lability, and muscular weakness. WHY: Sydenham's chorea is seen in rheumatic fever. The chorea may be associated with other rheumatic manifestations or it may present as the sole expression of rheumatic fever. HOW: Typically, the onset of chorea is gradual, with irritability, uncooperativeness, fits of anger, crying, and inappropriate behavior present before the choreiform movements are noted. The movements are rapid and jerky, unlike the slower, rhythmic motion seen in athetosis. Characteristically, on raising his arms above the head, the patient turns the arms so as to oppose the backs of the hands. The patient is unable to sustain a tetanic muscular contraction. On squeezing an examiner's hand the patient can only provide a repetitive, spasmodic grip which is overly pronated and is similar to the motion of milking a cow (milk-maid's grip). The patient's facial expression alternates between frowning, grinning and grimacing. His tongue darts in and out of his mouth. His speech is slurred and vacillates between a halting and an explosive rhythm. The deep tendon reflexes tend to be pendular, i.e., when the knee jerk is elicited with the patient sitting, the leg swings back and forth four or five times like a pendulum, rather than one or two times as in a normal person. Chorea is most common prior to puberty, and in females. It is occasionally seen in adult women but never in adult men. REFS: 1) Jones criteria (revised) for guidance in the diagnosis of rheumatic fever. Circulation 32:664, 1965. 2) Cooper, IS: Involuntary Movement Disorders. New York: Hoeber, 1969.
    Source - Diseases Database

Sydenham chorea is listed as a "rare disease" by the Office of Rare Diseases (ORD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This means that Sydenham chorea, or a subtype of Sydenham chorea, affects less than 200,000 people in the US population.
Source - National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Sydenham chorea: Introduction

Types of Sydenham chorea:

Broader types of Sydenham chorea:

Who gets Sydenham chorea?

Patient Profile for Sydenham chorea: childhood, usually 5-15.

Gender Profile for Sydenham chorea: Girls more than boys.

Gender Ratio for Sydenham chorea: female predominance

How serious is Sydenham chorea?

Prognosis of Sydenham chorea: Good. Full recovery common. Usually self-limiting.
Complications of Sydenham chorea: see complications of Sydenham chorea
Prognosis of Sydenham chorea: Generally the prognosis for patients with Sydenham chorea is good, and complete recovery often occurs. The duration of the disorder varies, with the average case lasting 3 to 6 weeks. Occasionally the course may be prolonged for several months. (Source: excerpt from NINDS Sydenham Chorea Information Page: NINDS)

What causes Sydenham chorea?

Causes of Sydenham chorea: see causes of Sydenham chorea
Cause of Sydenham chorea: A possibly-autoimmune reaction to a streptococcal rheumatic fever, often as much as 6 months after the rheumatic infection.
Causes of Sydenham chorea: The disorder may strike up to 6 months after the fever or infection has cleared. The chorea is believed to result from an autoimmune mechanism that occurs when the streptococcal infection causes the body to make antibodies to specific brain regions. (Source: excerpt from NINDS Sydenham Chorea Information Page: NINDS)

What are the symptoms of Sydenham chorea?

Symptoms of Sydenham chorea: see symptoms of Sydenham chorea

Complications of Sydenham chorea: see complications of Sydenham chorea

Onset of Sydenham chorea: 5-13 years of age

Duration of Sydenham chorea: Usually 3-6 weeks, sometimes months.

Sydenham chorea: Testing

Diagnostic testing: see tests for Sydenham chorea.

Misdiagnosis: see misdiagnosis and Sydenham chorea.

How is it treated?

Doctors and Medical Specialists for Sydenham chorea: Neurologist ; see also doctors and medical specialists for Sydenham chorea.
Treatments for Sydenham chorea: see treatments for Sydenham chorea
Research for Sydenham chorea: see research for Sydenham chorea

Organs Affected by Sydenham chorea:

Organs and body systems related to Sydenham chorea include:

Name and Aliases of Sydenham chorea

Main name of condition: Sydenham chorea

Class of Condition for Sydenham chorea: autoimmune possibly

Other names or spellings for Sydenham chorea:

Saint Vitus Dance, rheumatic chorea, infectious chorea, chorea minor

Rheumatic chorea, Saint Vitus' dance, Sydenham's chorea Source - Diseases Database

St. Vitus dance, Sydenham's chorea, Sydenham's chorea, St. Vitus dance
Source - Office of Rare Diseases (ORD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Sydenham chorea: Related Conditions

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Sydenham chorea:


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