Athetoid cerebral palsy is an irreversible condition in which brain damage to the midbrain (basal ganglia) causes patients to experience involuntary movements and abnormal muscle tone. Around 25 percent of all cerebral palsy cases are diagnosed as athetoid cerebral palsy, also known as dyskenetic cerebral palsy.
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What’s the problem?
Of the different types of cerebral palsy, severe athetoid cerebral palsy is one of the least prominent. It is a strong form of athetonia, which is marked by slow, writhing involuntary muscle movement. A mixed muscle tone where some are too high and others too low also characterizes severe athetoid cerebral palsy. Approximately 10 to 20 percent of CP patients are affected by severe athetoid cerebral palsy.
Athetoid Cerebral Palsy Symptoms
Symptoms of athetoid cerebral palsy are generally caused by an inability to control muscle states of being tense versus relaxed. In most cases, symptoms include some combination of:
- eating difficulties
- difficultly holding posture (particularly with walking, sitting or doing anything that necessitates an upright posture)
- problems holding objects (such as pencils, eating utensils, etc.)
- slow, constant, writhing movements (while such involuntary movements typically affect the hands, arms, feet or legs, occasionally, they can also occur in the face or tongue.)
- speech problems (due to an inability to control the tongue and vocal cords)
Treatments for Athetoid Cerebral Palsy
Physical therapy is the cornerstone of therapy for athetoid cerebral palsy and all other forms of CP. Therapy for school-aged children with CP is incorporated into the school day along with the appropriate educational experiences. This combination of school and therapy may be begun in early childhood.
Speech therapy can help improve communication skills. Some patients with athetoid CP have difficulty chewing and swallowing, and may benefit from therapy for these problems. Surgery many be used to correct or prevent limb deformities. Medications may help control or prevent spasms.
Alternative medicine practices such as massage and yoga have been found to ease symptoms for some CP patients, but caution should be used when selecting appropriate options; alternative therapies are a supplement to standard medical treatments for athetoid dyskinetic cerebral palsy and should be used only with the advice of qualified physicians.
Do I have an Athetoid Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit?
The Birth Injury Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus exclusively on the representation of plaintiffs in cerebral palsy, brachial plexus palsy, & Erb’s palsy lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.