Movement disorders from viral encephalitis can be severe, expensive

April 01, 2003

HONOLULU, HI -- Viral encephalitis causes a wider spectrum of movement disorders than previously recognized, and treating them may require prolonged hospitalization, according to a study to be presented during the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting in Honolulu, March 29-April 5, 2003.

The study authors followed 84 patients with viral encephalitis, including five with West Nile virus. Of 11 patients admitted to the neurointensive care unit, four patients developed movement disorders. These included tremor, myoclonus (sudden jerks), chorea (writhing movements), and ballismus (violent flinging movements).

The movement disorders developed within two weeks of disease onset, and were severe enough to require heavy sedation or pharmacologic paralysis. While non-affected encephalitis patients required an average stay of 16 days in the neurointensive care unit, patients with movement disorders averaged 55 days. "The prolonged hospital stay was mainly due to the difficulty of controlling the movements," according to Michael DeGeorgia, MD, study author and head of the Neurologic Intensive Care Program at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. One of the four patients has since recovered fully, two are in chronic care facilities, and one remains in the neurointensive care unit.

The 2003 American Academy of Neurology annual meeting - the world's largest international neurology meeting - takes place at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu from March 29 to April 5.
The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 18,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit its website at

Editor's Notes: Dr. DeGeorgia and Dr. Jain of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation will present the research at the AAN's 55th Annual Meeting in Honolulu, during a poster presentation on Wed., April 2 at 7:30 a.m. in Kamehameha I and II at the Hawaii Convention Center (HCC). Dr. Jain will be available to answer media questions during a briefing on Tues., April 1 at 8 a.m. in the AAN Press Room, Room 327 of the HCC.

All listed times are for Hawaiian-Aleutian Standard Time (HT).

For more information contact:
Kathy Stone, 651-695-2763,
March 29-April 5 -- 808-792-6630
Marilee Reu, 651-695-2789,

American Academy of Neurology

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