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Atheloid Cerebral Palsy

Athetoid Cerebral Palsy or dyskinetic cerebral palsy is a form of cerebral palsy is characterized by uncontrolled, slow, writhing movements. Athetoid cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the cerebellum or basal ganglia at the base of the brain. These abnormal movements usually affect the hands, feet, arms, or legs and, in some cases, the muscles of the face and tongue, causing grimacing or drooling. The movements often increase during periods of emotional stress and disappear during sleep. Patients may also have problems coordinating the muscle movements needed for speech, a condition known as dysarthria. They are very unsteady when they walk and they often have shaky hand movements and jerky speech. Athetoid cerebral palsy affects about 10 to 20 percent of patients. .

Cause of Athetoid Cerebral Palsy

Athetoid cerebral palsy is a form of CP that is often due to a large increase in the amount of a body chemical bilirubin in the blood of the newborn infant. This increase results in yellowing of the infant’s skin called jaundice. It also injures essential parts of the brain controlling the coordination of movements, the basal ganglia and the cerebellum. The brain injury is called Kernicterus and was a major cause of athetoid cerebral palsy. Kernicterus causes athetoid cerebral palsy. No baby should develop kernicterus resulting brain damage or cerebral palsy from untreated jaundice. With today's medical advances, if a baby develops kernicterus and athetoid cerebral palsy, then a probable medical malpractice lawsuit is in order.

Jaundice is a common problem among infants immediately after birth. It is the result of the inability of the neonatal liver to clear bilirubin, a breakdown product of blood cells, from the blood.  In most cases, jaundice is usually a self-limiting, mild disorder. The most commonly used treatment is ultraviolet light exposure, in which the infant is placed under an ultraviolet lamp for a few hours each day. The ultraviolet light breaks down bilirubin into a water soluble form which the infant liver can process and excrete.

If the baby gets very jaundiced, the doctor can do an immediate exchange transfusion. An exchange transfusion is a life-saving procedure designed to counteract the effects of serious jaundice, infection or bilirubin toxicity. When the bilirubin is deposited in the brain (CNS) tissues, then a diagnosis of kernicterus is certain. The procedure involves the staged removal of the infant's blood and replacement with fresh donor blood or plasma. The kernicterus treatment exchange transfusion is credited with preventing countless infants from developing kernicterus, when other jaundice treatments have failed.

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