BMJ Case Reports 2018; doi:10.1136/bcr-2018-226531
  • Unusual presentation of more common disease/injury

Status dystonicus: a diagnosis delayed

  1. Muhammad Sharif4,5
  1. 1Diabetes and Endocrine Department, Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Doncaster, UK
  2. 2Diabetes and Endocrine Department, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK
  3. 3Diabetes and Endocrine Department, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital, Margate, UK
  4. 4Acute Medicine Department, Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Doncaster, UK
  5. 5Department of General Internal Medicine, Hamad General Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  1. Correspondence to Dr Muhammad Fahad Arshad, dr.fahadarshad{at}
  • Accepted 29 August 2018
  • Published 12 September 2018


Status dystonicus, also known as the dystonic storm or dystonic crisis, is rare but may prove fatal due to respiratory and bulbar complications. In adults, the condition is rare and possibly under-reported. The lack of awareness of this condition among emergency and acute physicians may lead to an incorrect or delayed diagnosis, which should be avoided. We report a case of a 23-year-old man with athetoid cerebral palsy who presented to a district general hospital with uncontrolled dystonic movements, which were diagnosed as status dystonicus. This was successfully treated with intravenous clonidine, with full recovery returning to baseline functional state.


  • Contributors MS contributed to the concept and supervision. MFA and EA contributed to the collection of data and revision and editing. MFA, EA and ANB contributed to the literature search and writing the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Next of kin consent obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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