[Transitory episode of laughter as the initial symptom of an ischemic stroke]

Rev Neurol. 1997 Feb;25(138):239-41.
[Article in Spanish]


Introduction: Pathological laughter occurs in pseudobulbar paralysis, in psychiatric disorders and as a sign of convulsions (gelastic crisis). An extremely rare form is the "fou rire prodromique' a pathological episode of laughter preceding a stroke. The pathogenesis is unknown and classically differentiated from gelastic crises. "Fou rire prodromique' has been described in subcortical ischaemic or haemorrhagic strokes, not in cortical strokes.

Clinical case: We describe a patient with an ischaemic cerebrovascular accident due to embolism of the left Sylvian artery. The clinical picture started with a short episode of pathological laughter which preceded sensitive aphasia and weakness of the right limbs.

Conclusions: We suggest that in the case described it is impossible to differentiate between the "fou rire prodromique' and a gelastic crisis as a first sign of an embolic cerebrovascular accident.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Ischemia / diagnosis*
  • Brain Ischemia / etiology
  • Cerebral Veins / physiopathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Embolism and Thrombosis / complications
  • Intracranial Embolism and Thrombosis / physiopathology
  • Laughter*
  • Male