Lateral medullary syndrome

Dr Henry Knipe and A.Prof Frank Gaillard et al.

Lateral medullary syndrome, (or Wallenberg syndrome) is an acute ischemic infarct due to occlusion of the vessels supplying the lateral medulla oblongata; most commonly occlusion of intracranial portion of the vertebral artery followed by PICA and its branches 1-3. This syndrome is characterised by:

  • vestibulocerebellar symptoms: vertigo, falling towards the side of lesion, diplopia, and multidirectional nystagmus (inferior cerebellar peduncle and vestibular nucleus1-3
  • autonomic dysfunction: ipsilateral Horner's syndrome, hiccups 1-3
  • sensory symptoms: initially abnormal stabbing pain over the ipsilateral face then loss of pain and temperature sensation over the contralateral side of body (spinal trigeminal nucleus involvement) 1-3
  • ipsilateral bulbar muscle weakness: hoarseness, dysphonia, dysphagia, and dysarthria, decreased gag reflex (nucleus ambiguus1-3

History and etymology

The syndrome was first described by Adolf Wallenberg (1862-1949), a German physician, in 1895 4.

See also

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Article information

rID: 12193
Section: Syndromes
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Wallenberg syndrome
  • Wallenberg's syndrome
  • Lateral medullary syndrome

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    Case 8: on left with VA dissection
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