World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article




Classification and external resources
ICD-10 G25.5
ICD-9-CM 333.5
DiseasesDB 16662
eMedicine neuro/62
MeSH D002819

Chorea (or choreia, occasionally) is an abnormal involuntary movement disorder, one of a group of neurological disorders called dyskinesias. The term chorea is derived from the Greek word χορεία (=dance; see choreia), as the quick movements of the feet or hands are comparable to dancing.

The term hemichorea refers to chorea of one side of the body, such as chorea of one arm but not both (analogous to hemiballismus).


  • Presentation 1
  • Causes 2
  • Types 3
    • Huntington’s disease 3.1
    • Sydenham's chorea 3.2
    • Chorea gravidarum 3.3
  • Treatment 4
  • See also 5
  • Notes 6
  • External links 7


Chorea is characterized by brief, semi-directed, irregular movements that are not repetitive or rhythmic, but appear to flow from one muscle to the next.

These 'dance-like' movements of chorea often occur with athetosis, which adds twisting and writhing movements. Walking may become difficult, and include odd postures and leg movements.

Unlike ataxia, which affects the quality of voluntary movements, or Parkinsonism, which is a hindrance of voluntary movements, the movements of chorea and ballism occur on their own, without conscious effort. Thus, chorea is said to be a hyperkinetic movement disorder.

When chorea is serious, slight movements will become thrashing motions; this form of severe chorea is referred to as ballism or ballismus.


Chorea can occur in a variety of conditions and disorders.


Huntington’s disease

This is a type of chorea that is inherited, meaning the phenotype is displayed in generation after generation. Generally, the choreic movements accompanied by the mental disorder do not skip a generation, making it a dominant trait. Huntington's disease includes the generic traits of chorea such as the progressive tremors which affect the head and limbs, and increasing mental deterioration. However, this disease can also consist of just some of these traits and to varying degrees. It has also been observed that chorea differs in families depending on their specific backgrounds, which can be expected based on its heritability. Huntington’s chorea usually accompanies other diseases depending on the family line. Other diagnoses such as epilepsy, infantile convulsions, meningeal inflammations, hydrocephaly, mental handicap, and tics occurring mostly in small families are joined with chorea. This information leads doctors and scientists to believe that the families that are susceptible to inheriting chorea are also more likely to have nervous or mental troubles.[2]

Sydenham's chorea

Sydenham’s chorea is an acquired version of chorea. This type is increasingly rare and it may be partially due to penicillin, improved social conditions, and/or a natural reduction in the bacteria ( Streptococcus ) it has stemmed from. While chorea is known for its cause of involuntary movements, the psychological symptoms precede this acquired chorea and may be relapsing and remitting. They include: emotional lability, obsessive-compulsive behavior, cognitive defects, personality change, or attention deficit and hyperactivity. However, the hereditary and acquired types of chorea are generally have the same effects on their victims.[3]

Chorea gravidarum

This type of chorea simply refers to choreic symptoms that occur during a women’s pregnancy. In 1900, an average 1 in 300 cases were recorded. Most cases are a reappearance of Sydenham's chorea in the primary hormonal period of the pregnancy but it can also be caused by the use of oral contraceptives. A history of acute rheumatic fever is also a very likely cause of gravidarum chorea. Some women experience chorea during their following pregnancies and several cases have been described in which attacks occurred in three, four and even five pregnancies. If left untreated, the disease resolves in 30% of patients before delivery but, in the other 70%, it persists. The symptoms then progressively disappear in the next few days following the delivery.[4]


There is no standard course of treatment for chorea. Treatment depends on the type of chorea and the associated disease. Although there are many drugs that can control it, no cure has yet been identified.

Form Treatment
Huntington's-related A common treatment is dopaminergic antagonists, although treatment is largely supportive. Tetrabenazine is the only FDA approved drug for the treatment of Huntington's Disease related chorea.
Sydenham's chorea Haloperidol, carbamazepine and valproic acid. Usually involves antibiotic drugs to treat the infection, followed by drug therapy to prevent recurrence.
Chorea gravidarum haloperidol,[5][6][7] chlorpromazine alone or in combination with diazepam, also pimozide can also be used.
Wilson's disease Reducing levels of copper in the body using D-penicillinamine, trientine hydrochloride, tetrathiomolybdate, and other chelating agents
Drug-induced chorea Adjusting medication dosages.
Metabolic and endocrine-related choreas Treated according to their causes.

See also


  1. ^ Bushara, Khalafalla O. (2005). "Neurologic presentation of celiac disease". Gastroenterology 128 (4 Suppl 1): S92–7.  
  2. ^ Davenport, C. B. (1915). "Huntington's Chorea in Relation to Heredity and Eugenics". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 1 (5): 283–5.  
  3. ^ "Sydenham's Chorea | Doctor". 2014-01-23. Retrieved 2014-04-28. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Axley, John (1972). "Rheumatic chorea controlled with haloperidol". The Journal of Pediatrics 81 (6): 1216–7.  
  6. ^ Patterson, John F. (1979). "Treatment of Chorea Gravidarum With Haloperidol". Southern Medical Journal 72 (9): 1220–1.  
  7. ^ Donaldson JO (March 1982). "Control of choreia gravidarum with haloperidol".  

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.