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Chest infection, no control over left arm, waving it in different directions. on antibiotic treatment. Reasons for loss of arm control ?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
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hi my father whos 89 has had a bad chest infection and has been treated at home by antibiotics,,he is improving, very slowly,. today i got scared as he went slightly vacant and his left armhe seemed to have no control over,,he was waving it about in different directions, it went on for about 10 minutes, then he went to sleep andwhen he woke up it seemed to have stopped and he seemed ok.i just wondered if you had any idea what it could be, thanks
Posted Tue, 8 May 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Sujeet N Charugulla 4 hours later
Hello and thanks for your query.

I shall make an effort to provide you with good professional recommendations specific to your questions.

I understand your concern about your father's movements and blank behavior.
Firstly, antibiotics or any known drug does not cause those which you have mentioned. And the fact that he is improving indicates that he responded well to them.

Blank - it is one symptom of too many conditions, of which normal behavior is one. It can also be due to lower glucose levels typical in that age group, or next commonly due to lowered BP in the head region due to postural hypotension that again is common in the elderly. He would need evaluation along with tests to prove the cause.

Left arm swinging - If it is involuntary as you have observed and they are not tremors, then it is likely that he is doing it under some higher cerebral functions. His medical history in the past would help in here.

Meanwhile, can you eliminate the simple ones like checking his blood sugar, BP etc. And if there is a follow up appointment with the prescribing doctor after the antibiotic course, then you could take this up. For now, let him be completely free from his infection.

Yet again, I duly appreciate your query to me, I do hope that you have found something useful to help you and I shall be glad to answer any further apprehensions.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Chest infection, no control over left arm, waving it in different directions. on antibiotic treatment. Reasons for loss of arm control ? 9 hours later
thankyou for your reply which was very helpful

i just wanted to let you know a bit more about his medical history.

there isnt really much to tell, apart from that he takes a blood pressure tablet and i think a tablet for his heart (he had a heart attack 15 years ago but none since),,but does have angina , but this has been under control for a number of years.

the other thing is that he suffers from leg ulcers which give him alot of pain,, but the nurses came today to dress them and said they are not infected.

other than that he has been fairly healthy,

i will keep a check on the arm movements,, and as you say will mention it at his follow up appoinment.

Answered by Dr. Sujeet N Charugulla 14 hours later
Hi and thanks for the response.

Good, there is no gross reason for his movements then. He may need a neurological examination during his follow up visit.

About the leg ulcer pain, make sure he gets enough analgesic dose as prescribed by the doctor in case. This might be relevant as that might sometimes cause undue stress and lead to such movements.

Hope this helps.

I wish your father best of health.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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