Acute and chronic chorea in childhood

Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2009 Jun;16(2):71-6. doi: 10.1016/j.spen.2009.03.009.


This review discusses diagnostic evaluation and management of chorea in childhood. Chorea is an involuntary, hyperkinetic movement disorder characterized by continuous, jerky, or flowing movement fragments, with irregular timing and direction. It tends to be enhanced by voluntary actions and generally causes interference with fine motor function. The diagnostic evaluation begins with accurate classification of the movement disorder followed by consideration of the time course. Most previously healthy children presenting with acute/subacute chorea have an autoimmune etiology. Chronic chorea usually occurs as part of encephalopathies or diseases causing more global neurologic symptoms. We review the management of acute/subacute and chronic choreas, with special emphasis on Sydenham chorea and benign hereditary chorea.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Autoimmune Diseases / complications
  • Basal Ganglia / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Chorea* / diagnosis
  • Chorea* / etiology
  • Chorea* / physiopathology
  • Chorea* / therapy
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Synaptic Transmission