Learn About Hypotonia

What is the definition of Hypotonia?

Hypotonia means decreased muscle tone.

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What are the alternative names for Hypotonia?

Decreased muscle tone; Floppy infant

What is some background information about Hypotonia?

Hypotonia is often a sign of a worrisome problem. The condition can affect children or adults.

Infants with this problem seem floppy and feel like a "rag doll" when held. They rest with their elbows and knees loosely extended. Infants with normal tone tend to have flexed elbows and knees. They may have poor head control. The head may fall to the side, backward, or forward.

Infants with normal tone can be lifted with the adult's hands placed under the armpits. Hypotonic infants tend to slip between the hands.

What are the causes of Hypotonia?

Muscle tone and movement involve the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and muscles. Hypotonia may be a sign of a problem anywhere along the pathway that controls muscle movement. Causes may include:

  • Brain damage, due to lack of oxygen before or right after birth, or problems with brain formation
  • Disorders of the muscles, such as muscular dystrophy
  • Disorders that affect the nerves that supply muscles
  • Disorders that affect the ability of nerves to send messages to the muscles
  • Infections

Genetic or chromosomal disorders, or defects that may cause brain and nerve damage include:

  • Down syndrome
  • Spinal muscular atrophy
  • Prader-Willi syndrome
  • Tay-Sachs disease
  • Trisomy 13

Other disorders that can lead to the condition include:

  • Achondroplasia
  • Being born with hypothyroidism
  • Poisons or toxins
  • Spinal cord injuries that occur around the time of birth
How do I perform a home exam for a Hypotonia?

Take extra care when lifting and carrying a person with hypotonia to avoid causing an injury.

What should I expect during a doctor appointment?

The physical exam will include a detailed examination of the nervous system and muscle function.

In most cases, a neurologist (specialist in brain and nerve disorders) will help evaluate the problem. Geneticists may help diagnose certain disorders. If there are also other medical problems, a number of different specialists will help care for the child.

Which diagnostic tests are done depends on the suspected cause of the hypotonia. Most of the conditions associated with hypotonia also cause other symptoms that can help in the diagnosis.

Many of these disorders require ongoing care and support. Physical therapy may be recommended to help children improve their development.

Central nervous system and peripheral nervous system
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What are the latest Hypotonia Clinical Trials?
A Natural History Study of hnRNP and Other Gene-related Disorders

Summary: The purpose of this study is to analyze patterns in individuals with hnRNP (and other) genetic variants, including their neurological comorbidities, other medical problems and any treatment. The investigators will maintain an ongoing database of medical data that is otherwise being collected for routine medical care. The investigators will also collect data prospectively in the form of questionnai...

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Anomalies of Nocturnal Gaz Exchanges in Patients With Down Syndrome Aged From 4 to 16 Years

Summary: Recently, retrospective studies have shown that Down Syndrome children have a higher CO2 (carbone dioxide) sleep pressure than the general pediatric population. This increase does not seem to be always related to sleep apnea. The Investigators wish to confirm these results prospectively. The investigators hypothesize that this alveolar hypoventilation may be due to ventilatory control disorders ca...

What are the Latest Advances for Hypotonia?
Combination of modifying therapies in type 2 spinal muscular atrophy.
Sulfonylurea for improving neurological features in neonatal diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analyses.
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Venous sinus thrombosis after the first dose of Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: November 01, 2021
Published By: Anna C. Edens Hurst, MD, MS, Associate Professor in Medical Genetics, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL. 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 ?

Burnette WB. Hypotonic (floppy) infant. 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 30.

Johnston MV. Encephalopathies. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 616.

Marcdante KJ, Kliegman RM, Schuch AM. Weakness and hypotonia. In: Marcdante KJ, Kliegman RM, Schuch AM, eds. Nelson Essentials of Pediatrics. 9th ed. Elsevier; 2023:chap 182.

Sarnat HB. Evaluation and investigation of neuromuscular disorders. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 625.