• Movement disorders;
  • Sydenham's chorea;
  • Cerebral glucose consumption;
  • Positron emission tomography


Positron emission tomography and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose were used to measure the regional cerebral glucose consumption in a 15-year-old choreatic girl with classical Sydenham's chorea shortly after the onset of hyperkinetic movements and 5 months later after chorea had resolved and in a 74-year-old hemichoreatic woman with long-standing hyperkinesia as a residuum of Sydenham's chorea in adolescence. Whereas cerebellar, thalamic, and cortical glucose consumption was within normal limits in both patients, lentiform and caudate glucose consumption was significantly increased in both hemispheres of the 15-year-old patient and in the hemisphere contralateral to the chorea in the 74-year-old patient. In the younger patient, striatal glucose consumption returned to normal after her hyperkinesia had disappeared with antibiotic therapy. The observation of an increase in striatal glucose consumption in Sydenham's chorea, in contrast to the decrease of this variable encountered in the vast majority of other choreatic disorders, leads to questioning the pathophysiology of chorea in humans and suggests the use of emission tomographic measurement of variables related to cerebral energy metabolism for differential diagnosis in choreatic disorders.