Hemichorea/Hemiballism Associated with Hyperglycemia: Report of 20 Cases

  • Carlos Cosentino
  • Luis Torres
  • Yesenia Nuñez
  • Rafael Suarez
  • Miriam Velez
  • Martha Flores

Abstract

Background: Hemichorea/hemiballism associated with nonketotic hyperglycemia is a well-recognized syndrome, but few case series have been reported in the literature.

Case Report: We describe 20 patients with hemichorea/hemiballism associated with hyperglycemia (9 males and 11 females) with mean age of 67.8 years. Ten patients had a previous diagnosis of type 2 diabetes mellitus, and one had type 1 diabetes mellitus. Six of them had documentation of poor diabetic control over at least the last 3 months. Nine patients had new-onset hyperglycemia with a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus made after discharge. Seventeen patients had unilateral chorea/ballism, while three had bilateral chorea/ballism. Eighteen cases had striatal hyperdensities on computed tomography (CT) and/or hyperintense signals on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The putamen was affected in all cases, and the caudate nucleus was involved in nine.

Discussion: Hemichorea/hemiballism associated with nonketotic hyperglycemia can be the presenting sign of diabetes mellitus in almost half of cases or can occur after a few months of poor glycemic control in patients with diagnosed diabetes. This case series is one of the largest to date and adds valuable information about clinical and neuroimaging features that are comparable with published data but also emphasize the role of adequate diabetes mellitus control.