Rehabilitation of Alien Hand Syndrome Complicated by Contralateral Limb Apraxia

Armando Alvarez, Martin Weaver, Gemayaret Alvarez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A previously independent 66-yr-old right-handed man presented with right-sided weakness, preferring the lower limbs with additional impaired gait and dysarthria for 1-day duration. Imaging found a large left hemispheric anterior cerebral artery ischemic infarction with multiple lacunar infarcts. He exhibited frontal, callosal, and posterior variants of alien hand syndrome, which impeded activities of daily living. Though limited in evidence, a trial of clonazepam was initiated based on previous case reports describing suspected efficacy. Botulinum toxin A was not used given the patient's immediate need and limited hospital length of stay. Right upper limb constricting therapies improved intermanual conflict and spontaneous grasping and levitation (arm elevation in retroflexion) activity; however, concomitant left upper limb motor apraxia complicated task-oriented activities. The combination of pharmaceutical and therapeutic interventions improved the patient's quality of life as assessed by clinical observation, functional independence measures from 41 to 57, and patient reporting. This case report aims to increase awareness of a potential barrier to rehabilitation of a debilitating and rare condition and to discuss current assessment tools and treatment options supported by available evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e122-e124
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Alien Hand Syndrome
  • Apraxia
  • Neurological Rehabilitation
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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