The Canadian Movement Disorder Group

    The Definition of Chorea:

    An irregular, unpredictable, random, jerky, movements that flow from one body part to another or a complete inability to sustain a steady body position. Athetosis is slower than chorea. It is acceptable to use the term "choreoathetosis".

    List of Causes

      Inherited Degenerative Diseases

        Huntington's Disease

        Benign Familial Chorea


      Toxins / Drugs

        Birth Control Pill



      Vascular Causes (Strokes)

        Polycythemia (a disorder associated with too many red blood cells)

        Hypertensive basal ganglia small strokes (Lacunes)

        Vasculitis (inflamation of blood vessels (eg. Lupus)

      Metabolic Disorders

        Hyperthroidism (overactive thyroid)

        Chorea Gravidarum (pregnancy induced chorea)

        Chronic liver failure

        Hypoglycemia (Low blood sugar)

      Inherited Metabolic Diseases

        Wilson's Disease (an inherited abnormality of copper storage)

      Paroxysmal (episodic)Choreoathetosis

        Paroxysmal Kinesigenic Choreoathetosis (Episodic chorea induced by movement)

        Paroxysmal Non-Kinesigenic Choreoathetosis  (Episodic chorea not induced by movement)


        Sydenham's Chorea (associated with Rheumatic fever)





    Treatment needs to proceed with caution. Frequently treatment settles chorea but the functional status of the patient is worsened.

    Medications Options:

    A variety of medications can be used to help settle the movement disorder including; Tetrabenazine, Reserpine, Trilafon (perphenazine), other Neuroleptics, and Haldol.

More Information on Chorea

A Chorea online diagnostic flow chart from Dr Ruth Walker

Huntington's Disease

Huntington Society of Canada


 Huntington's Study Group - - Current research efforts


Huntington's Disease Society of America


Huntington's Disease - NIH information page


Huntington's at


Neuroacanthocytosis - NIH information page



Other Choreas

Chorea - NIH information page




Back to Home Page