Hemiplegia


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hemiplegia

[‚hē·mə′plē·jə]
(medicine)
Unilateral paralysis of the body.

Hemiplegia

 

complete loss of voluntary movements in the arm and leg on one side. There are organic and functional hemiplegias.

Organic hemiplegia may arise from disruption of the cerebral blood circulation (hemorrhage in the brain, thrombosis or embolism of the cerebral blood vessels), tumor, or inflammatory diseases of the brain (such as encephalitis and arachnoiditis). Functional hemiplegia is caused by hysteria. Organic hemiplegia results from injury by a pathological process to the motor pyramidal system (the nerve formation extending from the cerebral cortex to the anterior horns of the spinal cord). In organic hemiplegia, muscle tone and tendon reflexes increase in the paralyzed limbs, and pathological reflexes are formed. The absence of movements in the limbs is combined with partial dysfunction of the mimetic muscles on the same side, occasionally on the other side. Cyanosis, edema, and coldness of the limbs often appear on the affected side. These symptoms are absent in functional hemiplagia. Normal movements may be restored, depending on the nature of the process and degree of involvement of the pyramidal system. Hemiplegia sometimes has residual effects. Functional hemiplegia disappears without a trace.

Treatment consists of elimination of the main disease responsible for the hemiplegia. Early use of massage and exercise therapy is essential. Nervous system stimulants and agents that decrease muscle tone are administered.

REFERENCE

Mnogotomnoe rukovodstvo po nevrologii, vol. 2. Moscow, 1962. Pages 92-101.

V. S. ROTENBERG

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