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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1];Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Naresh Mullaguri, M.B.B.S. [2]


Hemiplegia is a condition where there is paralysis in one vertical half of a patient's body. This is not hemiparesis wherein one half of the body is weakened, i.e. one arm and its corresponding leg are weak. Hemiplegia is similar to hemiparesis, but hemiparesis is considered less severe.[1]


It can be congenital (occurring before, during, or soon after birth) or acquired (as from illness or stroke).

It is usually the result of a stroke, although disease processes affecting the spinal cord and other diseases affecting the hemispheres are equally capable of producing this clinical state. Hemiplegia can be a more serious consequence of stroke than spasticity.[2]

Cerebral palsy can also affect one hemisphere, resulting in limited function. This does not cause paralysis but instead causes spasms. Cerebral palsy where this is the only symptom is often referred just as hemiplegia.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus can lead to transient hemiplegia.

A rare cause of hemiplegia is due to local anaesthetic injections given intra-arterially rapidly, instead of given in a nerve branch.

Common Causes

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular No underlying causes
Chemical / poisoning No underlying causes
Dermatologic No underlying causes
Drug Side Effect Cidofovir, Oxcarbazepine, Pergolide, Pramipexole
Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes
Endocrine No underlying causes
Environmental No underlying causes
Gastroenterologic No underlying causes
Genetic Apolipoprotein A1 deficiency
Hematologic Bone marrow failure neurologic abnormalities, Hyper IgE syndrome (autosomal recessive)
Iatrogenic No underlying causes
Infectious Disease Cerebral abscess, Cerebellar abscess, Cortical thrombophlebitis, Encephalitis, Hydatid cyst, Infective endocarditis, Meningitis, Paragonimiasis, Rasmussen subacute encephalitis, Toxoplasmosis
Musculoskeletal / Ortho No underlying causes
Neurologic Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, Acute infantile hemiplegia, Alternating hemiplegia, Benedikt's syndrome, Brushfield-Wyatt syndrome, Cerebellar abscess, Cerebral abscess, Cerebral agenesis, Cerebral angioma, Cerebral contusion, Cerebral embolism, Cerebral hemorrhage, Cerebral palsy, Cerebral thrombosis, Cortical thrombophlebitis, Encephalitis, Epiloia, Extradural hemorrhage, Head injury, Hypertensive encephalopathy, Meningitis, Millard-Gubler syndrome, Motor neuron disease, Multiple sclerosis, Pick's disease, Porencephaly, Primary neoplasm, Rasmussen subacute encephalitis, Raymond-Foville syndrome, Schilder's disease, Secondary neoplasm, Sphenopalatine ganglion stimulation, Stroke, Sturge-Weber syndrome, Subarachnoid hemorrhage, Subdural haematoma, Toxoplasmosis, Traumatic cerebral hemorrhage, Weber's syndrome
Nutritional / Metabolic No underlying causes
Obstetric/Gynecologic No underlying causes
Oncologic Cerebral angioma, Primary neoplasm, Secondary neoplasm
Opthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose / Toxicity No underlying causes
Psychiatric Hysteria
Pulmonary No underlying causes
Renal / Electrolyte No underlying causes
Rheum / Immune / Allergy No underlying causes
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma Traumatic cerebral hemorrhage
Urologic No underlying causes
Dental No underlying causes
Miscellaneous Klippel Feil Syndrome, Birth injury

Causes in Alphabetical Order

Hemiplegic migraine

Hemiplegic migraine is a form of migraine during which the person will experience the feeling of numbness on one side of their body. This feeling will usually pass within 2-12 hour.

See also


  1. http://sprojects.mmi.mcgill.ca/gait/hemiplegic/intro.asp
  2. Patten C, Lexell J, Brown HE. Weakness and strength training in persons with poststroke hemiplegia: Rationale, method, and efficacy. J Rehab Res Dev 2004;41:293-312. Fulltext. PMID 15543447.

External links

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