Lateral medullary syndrome

Lateral medullary syndrome (or Wallenberg syndrome) is a clinical syndrome caused by an acute ischemic infarct of the lateral medulla oblongata.  This is most commonly due to occlusion of the intracranial portion of the vertebral artery followed by PICA and its branches 1-3. This syndrome is characterized 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.

Stroke and intracranial haemorrhage
Share article

Article information

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

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Case 1: on left
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 2: on right
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Subtle T2 brighte...
    Case 3: on right
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 4: on left with supratentorial tumor
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 5: on right
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 6: on left
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 7: on right
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 8: on left with VA dissection
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 9: on right
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.