Godtfredsen syndrome

Last revised by Rohit Sharma on 9 May 2024

Godtfredsen syndrome, also known as clival (clivus) syndrome, is a rare syndrome of abducens and hypoglossal nerve palsies that localizes to a clival mass.

The classic clinical presentation includes 1-3:

Additionally, patients may have other cranial neuropathies depending on the size of the underlying clival mass 1-3.

The abducens and hypoglossal nerves run in close proximity along the clivus, thus pathology affecting the clivus, such as a clival mass, may cause the unique palsy of these cranial nerves that defines Godtfredsen syndrome 1-3. The most common clival masses implicated are 1:

Radiographic features vary considerably depending on the underlying cause.

Management options vary considerably depending on the underlying cause.

The syndrome was first described by Erik Godtfredsen (1913-1993), a Danish ophthalmologist, in a case series of patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma 4,5.

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