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Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2002 Sep;60(3-A):525-30.

Movement disorders in 28 HIV-infected patients.

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Movement Disorders Sector, Department of Neurology, Clementino Fraga Filho University Hospital, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.


From 1986 to 1999, 2460 HIV-positive inpatients were seen in our Hospital. Neurological abnormalities were detected in 1053 (42.8%) patients. In this group, 28 (2.7%) had involuntary movements, 14 (50%) with secondary parkinsonism, six (21.4%) with hemichorea/hemiballismus, four (14.2%) with myoclonus, two (7.2%) with painful legs and moving toes, one (3.6%) with hemidystonia and one (3.6%) with Holmes' tremor. The HIV itself (12 patients), toxoplasmosis of the midbrain (1) and metoclopramide-related symptoms (1) were the most probable causes for the parkinsonism. All patients with hemichorea/hemiballismus were men and in all of them toxoplasmosis of the basal ganglia, mostly on the right side, was the cause of the involuntary movements. Generalized myoclonus was seen in two patients and they were due to toxoplasmosis and HIV-encephalopathy respectively; two others presented with spinal myoclonus. The two patients with painful legs and moving toes had an axonal neuropathy. The patient with hemidystonia suffered from toxoplasmosis in the basal ganglia and the patient with Holmes' tremor had co-infection with tuberculosis and toxoplasmosis affecting the midbrain and cerebellum. We conclude that HIV-infected patients can present almost any movement disorder. They can be related to opportunistic infections, medications, mass lesions and possibly to a direct or indirect effect of the HIV itself.

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