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Keywords:

  • dystonia;
  • dyspnea;
  • respiratory;
  • movement disorders

Abstract

Background:

Respiratory difficulties are sometimes reported by patients with cranial-cervical and other forms of dystonia, but the nature or mechanisms of the breathing problems have not been well characterized.

Case Report:

We review 13 dystonic patients with various respiratory complaints and describe their symptoms and response to treatment, including botulinum toxin (BoNT) injections.

Discussion:

Gasping, stridor, interrupted flow of speech, paradoxical breathing, dyspnea on exertion, and other respiratory symptoms reported by patients suggest involvement of the upper airways, chest, and diaphragm. BoNT injections may be, at least partially, beneficial in some patients.

Conclusion:

This series of patients draws attention to respiratory distress as a potentially serious, even life-threatening, complication of dystonia. © 2012 Movement Disorder Society