Wallenberg Syndrome


Wallenberg Syndrome (aka: lateral medullary syndrome or the posterior inferior cerebellar artery syndrome) is a neurological disorder with a variety of symptoms associated with posterior circulation ischemic stroke.

The infarcted area in Wallenberg syndrome is supplied by the posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) usually secondary to atherothrombosis of the vertebral artery (80%), or posterior inferior cerebellar artery.

Risk group is typically the elderly vasculopath presenting with dizziness/vertigo, loss of balance with gait instability, hoarse voice and difficulty swallowing.

Ipsilateral signs include:

  • Vertigo with nystagmus
  • Horner syndrome
  • Ataxia with a tendency to fall towards the side of the lesion
  • Altered facial sensation (often with pain and numbness in trigeminal distribution) and altered taste sensation

Contralateral signs:

  • Altered pain and temperature sensation in the arms and legs (spinothalamic tract)


1808 – Gaspard Vieusseux (1746-1814) recorded a detailed description of his own illness (suffered on 29th of December, 1807) at a meeting of the Société médicochirugicale de Genève. “Lateral numbness of the face, loss of pain appreciation and temperature in the limbs, dysphasia, hoarseness, tongue problems, hiccups (which disappeared smoking a cigarette in the morning) and inclined eyelid“.

1810 – Alexander Marcet (1770–1822) reproduced the case for the Royal SocietyThe gentleman who is the subject of the following singular case is Dr Vieusseux, an eminent physician of Geneva…whilst in London he was induced to draw up and communicate to the Society the particulars of his own case…‘. Following the death of Vieusseux in 1814, Marcet writes ‘It is much to be regretted that his head was not opened.

Associated Persons

  • Adolf Wallenberg (1862-1949)
  • Gaspard Vieusseux (1746-1814)
  • Alexander Marcet (1770–1822)
  • Charles Foix (1882-1927)

Alternative names

  • Lateral medullary syndrome
  • Viesseaux-Wallenberg syndrome
  • Wallenberg-Foix syndrome
  • Posterior inferior cerebellar artery syndrome (PICA)


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Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and informatics. Asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | vocortex |

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