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Haemiballism/haemichorea: an atypical presentation of ischaemic stroke


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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