Ataxia

Ataxia is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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Emergency Central

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Basics

Description

  • Inability to perform coordinated movements
  • Caused by a disorder of the cerebellum or its connections:
    • Ipsilateral signs with lateral cerebellar lesions
    • Truncal ataxia with midline lesions

Etiology

Usually cerebellar in origin, but may occur with sensory, motor, or vestibular dysfunction:
  • Trauma
  • Mass lesions
  • Vascular disorders
  • Infections or postinfectious processes
  • Toxins/drugs
  • Metabolic/endocrine derangements
  • Demyelinating diseases
  • Congenital malformations
  • Hereditary disorders:
    • Inborn errors of metabolism
    • Progressive degenerative ataxias
  • Nutritional deficiencies

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