Journal of Neurology

, Volume 251, Issue 11, pp 1324–1328 | Cite as

Contraversive pushing in non-stroke patients

  • Taiza E. G. Santos-Pontelli
  • Octávio M. Pontes-Neto
  • José Fernando Colafêmina
  • Dráulio B. de Araujo
  • Antônio Carlos Santos
  • João P. LeiteEmail author



Pusher syndrome is a disorder of postural control observed in patients with right or left brain damage associated with hemiparesis. Those patients show a peculiar behavior of actively pushing away from the nonhemiparetic side and resisting against passive correction, with a tendency to fall toward the paralyzed side. Thus far this phenomenon has been exclusively associated with stroke patients.


We investigate the occurrence, imaging features and clinical evolution of pusher behavior in patients with acute encephalic lesions at a tertiary emergency hospital.


Pusher patients were identified from 530 inpatients during a 1 year period. Patients were evaluated using a standardized Scale for Contraversive Pushing (SCP), neurological examination, assessment of neuropsychological symptoms, activities of daily living function and neuroimaging studies.


We found eight patients (1.5%) with severe contraversive pushing, three female and five male. Age at symptoms onset ranged from 48 to 80 years (mean 65.4). All patients had scores equal or above 1.5 in each tested parameter of the SCP. Six patients (75 %) had right-hemisphere brain damage. A stroke etiology was found in four patients. The other four patients had non-stroke etiology (three traumatic, one metastatic tumor). Stroke patients showed complete recovery of pusher behavior at a mean duration of 15.3 weeks. In patients with brain trauma, pushing behavior was completely resolved in a mean time of 5 weeks.


The results demonstrate that contraversive pushing may also occur in patients with non-stroke neurological lesions and suggest that resolution of symptoms may vary according to the underlying etiology.

Key words

pusher syndrome postural control trauma tumor 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Taiza E. G. Santos-Pontelli
    • 1
  • Octávio M. Pontes-Neto
    • 1
  • José Fernando Colafêmina
    • 2
  • Dráulio B. de Araujo
    • 4
  • Antônio Carlos Santos
    • 3
  • João P. Leite
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Dept. of NeurologyUniversity of São Paulo, School of Medicine at Ribeirão Preto, Campus UniversitárioRibeirão Preto, CEP 14049-900, Brazil
  2. 2.Division of OtorhinolaringologyUniversity of São Paulo, School of MedicineRibeirão PretoBrazil
  3. 3.Dept. of Internal MedicineUniversity of São Paulo, School of MedicineRibeirão PretoBrazil
  4. 4.University of São Paulo, School of PhysicsRibeirão PretoBrazil

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