Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram LinkedIn Google Plus

Symptoms

Decorticate posture

Abnormal posturing - decorticate posture; Traumatic brain injury - decorticate posture

Decorticate posture is an abnormal posturing in which a person is stiff with bent arms, clenched fists, and legs held out straight. The arms are bent in toward the body and the wrists and fingers are bent and held on the chest.

This type of posturing is a sign of severe damage in the brain. People who have this condition should get medical attention right away.

Considerations

Decorticate posture is a sign of damage to the nerve pathway between the brain and spinal cord. Although it is serious, it is usually not as serious as a type of abnormal posture called decerebrate posture.

The posturing may occur on one or both sides of the body.

Causes

Causes of decorticate posture include:

  • Bleeding in the brain from any cause
  • Brain stem tumor
  • Stroke
  • Brain problem due to drugs, poisoning, or infection
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Brain problem due to liver failure
  • Increased pressure in the brain from any cause
  • Brain tumor
  • Infection, such as Reye syndrome
When to Contact a Medical Professional

Abnormal posturing of any kind usually occurs with a reduced level of alertness. Anyone who has an abnormal posture should be examined right away by a health care provider and treated right away in a hospital.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The person will receive emergency treatment. This includes getting a breathing tube and breathing assistance. The person will likely be admitted to the hospital and placed in the intensive care unit.

After the condition is stable, the provider will get a medical history from family members or friends and a more detailed physical examination will be done. This will include a careful examination of the brain and nervous system.

Medical history questions may include:

  • When did the symptoms start?
  • Is there a pattern to the episodes?
  • Is the body posture always the same?
  • Is there any history of a head injury or drug use?
  • What other symptoms occurred before or with the abnormal posturing?

Tests that may be done include:

The outlook depends on the cause. There may be brain and nervous system injury and permanent brain damage, which can lead to:

  • Coma
  • Inability to communicate
  • Paralysis
  • Seizures

References

Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW. Neurologic system. In: Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW, eds. Seidel's Guide to Physical Examination. 8th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby; 2015:chap 22.

Crocco TJ, Goldstein JN. Stroke. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 101.

Hamati AI. Neurological complications of systemic disease: children. In: Daroff RB, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 59.

Heegaard WG, Biros MH. Head injury. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 41.

Review Date: 5/15/2017

Reviewed By: Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, Attending Neurologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, SUNY Stony Brook, School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
© 1997- adam.com All rights reserved.

 
 
 

 

 

Patient Portal - My OneCare
Bill Pay
Donate Now
Send a Patient eGreeting
Baby Photos
Classes and Events
Patient and Visitor Information
Volunteer