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October 1979

Upward Transtentorial Herniation: Seven Cases and a Literature Review

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Neurology (Drs Cuneo and Caronna), Neurological Surgery (Dr Pitts), Neuropathology (Dr Townsend), and Neuroradiology (Dr Winestock), the University of California Medical Center, San Francisco.

Arch Neurol. 1979;36(10):618-623. doi:10.1001/archneur.1979.00500460052006

• Seven cases of upward transtentorial herniation occurred. In each patient, coma with reactive, miotic pupils, asymmetrical or absent caloric responses, and decerebrate posture indicated brain-stem compression. In this setting, the development of unequal, then midposition, fixed pupils signaled midbrain failure from upward herniation. Vertebral angiography showed upward displacement of the superior cerebellar arteries. Results of autopsy confirmed the existence of grooving of the vermis by the tentorial margins and, in one case, of anterior displacement and distortion of the midbrain. In five of 45 reported cases of upward herniation, the conditions were diagnosed antemortem. Instances of cerebellar hematoma and tumor predominated. In at least seven patients, performance of ventriculography may have precipitated herniation. Clinical details were provided in only nine patients and did not separate upward herniation from brain-stem compression. Cerebellar ischemic infarct found in one of our patients is a rarely reported cause of upward herniation.

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