Case series: increased vulnerability to obsessive-compulsive symptoms with repeated episodes of Sydenham chorea

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1999 Dec;38(12):1522-5. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199912000-00013.


The association between obsessive-compulsive symptoms (OCS) and Sydenham chorea (SC) supports the hypothesis of a common neuroimmunological dysfunction in basal ganglia associated with group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal infection underlying both conditions. Four children with 2 distinct SC episodes were evaluated to assess the course of OCS. All patients developed OCS during their second episodes (3 met criteria for obsessive-compulsive disorder [OCD]), but not in their first episodes (2 developed OCS and met criteria for OCD). These data suggest that the recurrence of SC episodes may result in a cumulative effect, thus increasing the risk of appearance and intensification of OCS.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Autoimmune Diseases / complications
  • Autoimmune Diseases / psychology
  • Child
  • Chorea / diagnosis*
  • Chorea / psychology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / etiology*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Streptococcal Infections / complications
  • Streptococcal Infections / psychology