Area postrema syndrome
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Area postrema syndrome is a disorder of the chemoreceptor trigger zone (area postrema) which is located on the medial posteroinferior surface of the medulla oblongata. It is usually a demyelinating disorder, as one of the core clinical characteristics of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder 1,2.
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The presentation is with hiccups, nausea, and/or uncontrollable vomiting, typically persisting for at least 48 hours 1-3.
Area postrema syndrome is a classically described manifestation of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder, where it is one of the core clinical presentations, because the area postrema is particularly rich in aquaporin-4 1-3. However, the syndrome has also been rarely reported to occur with other pathologies, such as ischemic stroke, brainstem glioma, and Bickerstaff encephalitis 4-6.
MRI is the modality of choice for area postrema syndrome.
Typical appearance of area postrema syndrome is a V-shaped circumventricular demyelinating zone located on the posteroinferior surface of the medulla oblongata at the caudal end of the fourth ventricle 2,3.
- T1: hypointense
- T2/FLAIR: hyperintense
- T1 C+ (Gd): enhancement is variable
Treatment and prognosis
When occurring due to neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder, high-dose methylprednisolone is the treatment of choice initially.
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- 2. Wingerchuk D, Banwell B, Bennett J et al. International Consensus Diagnostic Criteria for Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorders. Neurology. 2015;85(2):177-89. doi:10.1212/wnl.0000000000001729 - Pubmed
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- 4. Cohen D, Craven C, Bragin I. Ischemic Stroke Induced Area Postrema Syndrome With Intractable Nausea, Vomiting, and Hiccups. Cureus. 2020;12(6):e8630. doi:10.7759/cureus.8630 - Pubmed
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- 6. Natsis K, Kalyvas A, Theochari E, Papamichalis E, Gerkou A. Area Postrema Syndrome in a Patient with Brainstem Glioblastoma. Acta Neurol Belg. 2021;121(4):1087-8. doi:10.1007/s13760-021-01736-9 - Pubmed