Lateral medullary syndrome (Wallenbergs Syndrome)

What is the lateral medullary syndrome (Wallenbergs Syndrome)? 

Lateral medullary syndrome is often due to vertebral artery or posterior inferior cerebellar artery occlusion.

Vertebral artery dissection can also be a cause. Damage to the dorsolateral medulla and the inferior cerebellar peduncle results in the following signs:

  • Ipsilateral loss of pain and temperature sensation of the face (damage to descending spinal tract and nucleus of cranial nerve V)
  • Ipsilateral paralysis of palate, pharynx, and vocal cord (damage to nuclei or fibers of IX and X) with dysphagia and dysarthria
  • Ipsilateral Horner’s syndrome (damage to descending sympathetic fibers)
  • Ipsilateral ataxia and dysmetria (damage to inferior cerebellar peduncle and cerebellum)
  • Contralateral loss of pain and temperature on the body (damage to spinothalamic tract)
  • Vertigo, nausea, vomiting, and nystagmus (damage to vestibular nuclei)
  • Other signs and symptoms may include hiccups, diplopia, or unilateral posterior headache.
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