Tremor and Other Hyperkinetic Movements

Arm Levitation as Initial Manifestation of Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease: Case Report and Review of the Literature

Vinícius B. Ciarlariello Boaratti, Orlando G. Barsottini, Alberto J. Espay, José L. Pedroso Luiz


Background: Arm levitation is an involuntary elevation of the upper limb, a manifestation of the alien-limb phenomenon. It has rarely been reported in Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD), less so as an initial manifestation

Case Report: We report a 56-year-old right-handed man with rapidly progressive gait ataxia and involuntary elevation of the left upper limb. During the next few weeks, the patient developed cognitive impairment, apraxia, visual hallucinations, and myoclonus. He met diagnostic criteria for CJD. We evaluated additional published cases of early-appearance of alien-limb phenomenon in the context of CJD; there were 22 such cases and alien-limb phenomenon was the first and exclusive manifestation in only five of them.

Discussion: Arm levitation may be a distinct presentation of CJD, appearing earlier than other clinical features.



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