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Case Reports in Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 524603, 4 pages
Case Report

Electroacupuncture for Decorticate Rigidity of the Upper Limbs in a Patient with Anoxic Brain Damage

1Department of Cardiovascular and Neurological Diseases, Kyung Hee University Oriental Medicine Hospital, 1 Hoegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 130-702, Republic of Korea
2Department of Cardiovascular and Neurologic Diseases, Kyung Hee University Hospital at Gangdong, 149, Sangil-dong, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Received 12 May 2013; Accepted 31 July 2013

Academic Editor: Masahiro Kohzuki

Copyright © 2013 WooSang Jung et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Decorticate rigidity is a type of abnormal posturing that can make it difficult to move a patient and to change the patient’s position to prevent a decubitus ulcer. This condition poses a latent risk of bed sores. To prevent those complications, we used electroacupuncutre for decorticate rigidity of the upper limbs in a patient with anoxic brain damage. A 51-year-old man complained of rigidity of both of the upper and lower extremities due to anoxic brain damage. His rigidity was exhibited as flexed arms and extended legs, which are the typical positions in decorticate rigidity. Prior to electroacupuncture, his decorticate rigidity was treated with dantrolene sodium and baclofen. However, his rigidity had not improved. This patient received total 41 sessions of electroacupuncture. The patient’s Modified Ashworth’s Scale changed from 4 at baseline to 2 after the treatment, indicating an improvement in the rigidity of the upper limbs. Preston’s Hypertonicity Scale and passive ROM of the elbow joints also improved. We report the observed effects of electroacupuncture for decorticate rigidity of the upper limbs in a patient with anoxic brain damage. Further controlled studies are needed to determine whether electroacupuncture is a useful alternative treatment for decorticate rigidity in patients with anoxic brain damage.