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Classification and evaluation of dystonia

Cynthia Comella, MD
Section Editor
Howard I Hurtig, MD
Deputy Editor
John F Dashe, MD, PhD


The definition of dystonia, as updated in 2013 by an international consensus committee of movement disorder experts, is as follows [1]:

Dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by sustained or intermittent muscle contractions causing abnormal, often repetitive, movements, postures, or both

Dystonic movements are typically patterned, twisting, and may be tremulous

Dystonia is often initiated or worsened by voluntary action and associated with overflow muscle activation

The consensus committee also updated the classification system for dystonia, basing it upon clinical characteristics and etiology [1]. The clinical characteristics include age at onset, body distribution, temporal pattern, coexistence of other movement disorders, and other neurologic manifestations. The etiologic characteristics are the presence or absence of nervous system pathology and the pattern of inheritance.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Oct 13, 2017.
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