Learn About Decerebrate Posture

What is the definition of Decerebrate Posture?

Decerebrate posture is an abnormal body posture that involves the arms and legs being held straight out, the toes being pointed downward, and the head and neck being arched backward. The muscles are tightened and held rigidly. This type of posturing usually means there has been severe damage to the brain.

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What are the alternative names for Decerebrate Posture?

Opisthotonos - decerebrate posture; Abnormal posturing - decerebrate posture; Traumatic brain injury - decerebrate posture; Decorticate posture - decerebrate posture

What is some background information about Decerebrate Posture?

A severe injury to the brain is the usual cause of decerebrate posture.

Opisthotonos (a severe muscle spasm of the neck and back) may occur in severe cases of decerebrate posture.

Decerebrate posture can occur on one side, on both sides, or in just the arms. It may alternate with another type of abnormal posture called decorticate posture. A person can also have decorticate posture on one side of the body and decerebrate posture on the other side.

What are the causes of Decerebrate Posture?

Causes of decerebrate posture include:

  • Bleeding in the brain from any cause
  • Brain stem tumor
  • Stroke
  • Brain problem due to illicit drugs, poisoning, or infection
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Brain problem due to liver failure
  • Increased pressure in the brain from any cause
  • Brain tumor
  • Infections, such as meningitis
  • Reye syndrome (sudden brain damage and liver function problems that affects children)
  • Brain injury from lack of oxygen
How do I perform a home exam for a Decerebrate Posture?

Conditions related to decerebrate posture need to be treated right away in a hospital.

When should I contact a medical professional for Decerebrate Posture?

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.

What should I expect during a doctor appointment?

The person will need emergency treatment right away. This includes breathing assistance and placement of a breathing tube. The person will likely be admitted to the hospital and placed in intensive care.

Once the person is stable, the provider will obtain a complete medical history from family members or friends and do a more complete physical examination. This will include a careful examination of the brain and nervous system.

Family members will be asked questions about the person's medical history, including:

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

Tests may include:

  • Blood and urine tests to check blood counts, screen for drugs and toxic substances, and measure body chemicals and minerals
  • Cerebral angiography (dye and x-ray study of blood vessels in the brain)
  • CT or MRI of the head
  • EEG (brain wave testing)
  • Intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring
  • Lumbar puncture to collect cerebrospinal fluid

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
Who are the top Decerebrate Posture Local Doctors?
Elite
Highly rated in
2
conditions

Institute Of Translational Biomedicine

St. Petersburg State University 
Saint Petersburg, SPE, RU 19903

Pavel Musienko is in Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation. Musienko is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Decerebrate Posture. He is also highly rated in 2 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Decerebrate Posture, Decorticate Posture, Urinary Incontinence, and Neurogenic Bladder.

Distinguished
Highly rated in
3
conditions

Karolinska Institute

Stockholm, AB, SE 17177

Pavel Zelenin is in Stockholm, Sweden. Zelenin is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Decerebrate Posture. He is also highly rated in 3 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Decorticate Posture, Decerebrate Posture, Spinal Shock, and Spasticity.

 
 
 
 
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Distinguished
Highly rated in
2
conditions

Graduate School Of Biomedical And Health Sciences, Hiroshima University

Hiroshima, JP 

Kanji Matsukawa is in Hiroshima, Japan. Matsukawa is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Decerebrate Posture. He is also highly rated in 2 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Decerebrate Posture, Vasoconstriction, and Amaurosis Fugax.

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What are the Latest Advances for Decerebrate Posture?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy in non-fatal drowning.
Posterior fossa pilocytic astrocytoma presenting with opisthotonus in an infant - A case report.
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Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : May 04, 2021
Published By : Joseph V. Campellone, MD, Department of Neurology, Cooper Medical School at Rowan University, Camden, NJ. 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.

What are the references for this article ?

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. 9th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2019:chap 23.

Hamati AI, Felker MV. Neurological complications of systemic disease: children. In: Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, Newman NJ, eds. Bradley and Daroff's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 59.

Bostwick TL. Altered mental status and coma. In: Bakes KM, Buchanan JA, Moreira ME, Byyny R, Pons PT, eds. Emergency Medicine Secrets. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 14.