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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Wallenberg syndrome

Other Names for this Disease
  • Lateral medullary syndrome
  • PICA syndrome
  • Posterior inferior cerebellar artery syndrome
  • Vertebral artery syndrome
  • Wallenberg's syndrome
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What causes Wallenberg syndrome?

The most common cause of Wallenberg syndrome is stroke in the vertebral or posterior inferior cerebellar arteries of the brain stem (brain stem stroke).[1][2] However, several other disorders or conditions have also been reported as being associated with Wallenberg syndrome, including mechanical trauma to the vertebral artery in the neck, vertebral arteritis (inflammation of the walls of the arteries), metastatic cancer, hematoma, aneurysm of the vertebral artery, herpetic brainstem encephalitis, head injury, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), multiple sclerosis, varicella infection and brainstem tuberculoma (a rare form of tuberculosis).[2][3][4][5][6]
Last updated: 3/19/2012

  1. NINDS Wallenberg's Syndrome Information Page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). February 15, 2007; Accessed 3/13/2012.
  2. Qiu W, Wu JS, Carroll WM, Mastaglia FL, Kermode AG. Wallenberg syndrome caused by multiple sclerosis mimicking stroke. J Clin Neurosci. December 2009; 16(12):1700-1702.
  3. DB Smith and BK Demasters. Demyelinating disease presenting as Wallenberg's syndrome. Report of a patient. Stroke. 1981; 12:877-888.
  4. S.O. Kovacs, K. Kuban, R. Strand. Lateral medullary syndrome following varicella infection. Am J Dis Child. 1993; 147:823-825.
  5. M.J. Lawson-Smith, S.J. Smith, J.C. Leach et al. Lateral medullary syndrome caused by penetrating head injury. J Clin Neurosci. 2006; 13:792-794.
  6. Verma R, Sharma P. Lateral medullary syndrome due to brain stem tuberculoma. J Assoc Physicians India. June 2011; 59:382-384.