Description, Causes and Risk Factors:
A unilateral or bilateral postural change, consisting of the upper extremities flexed and adducted and the lower extremities in rigid extension; due to structural lesions of the thalamus, internal capsule, or cerebral white matter. 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.
Decorticate posture may progress to decerebrate posture, or the two may alternate. The posturing may occur on one or both sides of the body.
Causes and Risk Factors:
Increased intracranial pressure from any cause.
Worsening of brain function that occurs from liver damage, infections in the brain, and other causes.
Bleeding in the brain (intracranial hemorrhage).
Although a serious sign, decorticate posture carries a more favorable prognosis than decerebrate posture. However, if the causative disorder extends lower in the brain stem, decorticate posture may progress to decerebrate posture.
Decorticate posture is characterized by adduction of the arms and flexion of the elbows, with wrists and fingers flexed on the chest. The legs are extended and internally rotated, with plantar flexion of the feet. This posture may occur unilaterally or bilaterally.
Tests that may be done include:
Cerebral angiography (a dye and x-ray study of blood vessels in the brain).
EEG (brain wave testing) intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring.
Head MRI or CT scan.
Blood and urine tests to check blood counts, screen for drugs and toxic substances, and measure body chemicals and minerals.
Abnormal posturing of any sort is usually associated with reduced level of consciousness (alertness). Anyone who has an abnormal posture should be examined promptly by a Healthcare provider. If associated with prolonged coma (unconsciousness), these behaviors can persist for an extended period of time.
NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.
DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.
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