Background and purpose: Essential tremor is an abnormal movement characterized by postural and/or kinetic tremor. In some essential tremor patients, rest tremor (RT) is observed but it is not clear if this RT is a feature of essential tremor or a symptom of Parkinson's disease (PD). I123-FP-CIT single-photon emission tomography is used to distinguish essential tremor and PD.
Objectives: To analyse I123-FP-CIT single-photon emission tomography in a larger series of patients with mixed tremor (i.e. action tremor associated with RT) without PD criteria.
Methods: We studied 33 consecutives patients (18 men and 15 women) with mixed tremor, clinically and by neuroimaging in all cases.
Results: I123-FP-CIT single-photon emission tomography was abnormal in 25 of our patients (75.7%) with mixed tremor, and we noted a reduced uptake mostly in the putamen. In our patients with abnormal imaging, RT was unilateral in 52%. In 15 of these 25 patients, putaminal reduced uptake was bilateral and symmetrical. In the other 10 patients, putaminal reduced uptake was asymmetrical or unilateral. In these 10 cases, six had a unilateral RT corresponding to (crossed) predominant reduced uptake in three cases. In our patients with normal imaging, RT was unilateral in 87.5%.
Conclusions: This study shows that mixed tremor is a heterogeneous entity. The majority of patients with mixed tremor showed nigrostriatal dysfunction on I123-FP-CIT single-photon emission tomography, suggesting that mixed tremor may be a parkinsonian syndrome rather than a clinical variant of essential tremor.
© 2012 The Author(s) European Journal of Neurology © 2012 EFNS.