What is Asterixis?

December 15, 2010


E-Pearl of the Week

Brought to you by the Resident and Fellow Section of the journal Neurology®.

December 14, 2010


Asterixis is a movement disorder best characterized by arrhythmic flexion movements of the hands evoked by outstretched arms and dorsiflexion of the wrists. It is produced by a lapse of sustained posture. Bilateral asterixis is usually associated with a toxic-metabolic encephalopathy, particularly from liver or renal abnormalities. Unilateral asterixis should prompt evaluation of a focal brain lesion. Although non-localizing, it is commonly associated with abnormalities in the contralateral thalamus or internal capsule.


1. Gokula RM, Khasnis A. Asterixis. J Postgrad Med 2003;49:272-275

Submitted by Andrew J. Westwood

Disclosure: Dr. Westwood reports no disclosures

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