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Haemiballism/haemichorea: an atypical presentation of ischaemic stroke
  1. Raman Nohria1,
  2. Stacey Bennett2 and
  3. Yasmin Ali O'Keefe2
  1. 1Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  2. 2Department of Neurology, Duke University Health System, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Raman Nohria; raman.nohria{at}


A 76-year-old man was admitted to the hospital with acute onset of involuntary movements of the left side of his body. His neurological examination revealed he was oriented only to himself, and aforementioned movements of his left arm and leg. CT head demonstrated old infarcts in his right aspect of his pons and basal ganglia. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis was unremarkable. He initially had a normal blood glucose with an elevated anion gap and elevated creatine kinase. Brain MRI showed a small lacunar-type ischaemic infarct within the anteromedial aspect of the right cerebral peduncle, which localised to his haemiballism. To prevent worsening rhabdomyolysis associated with his haemiballism, the primary team initiated both tetrabenazine and diazepam. His movements improved after 1 week of medication therapy. This report discusses a thorough workup for this movement disorder and when to intervene for this distressing condition.

  • movement disorders (other than Parkinsons)
  • stroke

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  • Contributors RN wrote the manuscript with the supervision of SB and YO. SB and YO were directly involved in the review and editing process. All authors have read the final version and approved 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.

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