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September 1985

Universal Dissociated Anesthesia due to Bilateral Brain-Stem Infarcts

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, and the Neurological Unit, Boston City Hospital.

Arch Neurol. 1985;42(9):918-922. doi:10.1001/archneur.1985.04060080104023

• A 59-year-old man had loss of pinprick and temperature sensation over his head, face, neck, trunk, and all extremities while light touch, vibration, joint position sense, and deep pain were preserved. This was the cumulative result of infarctions in the territories of the right superior cerebellar and left posterior inferior cerebellar arteries that occurred three years apart. To our knowledge, a syndrome of bilateral discrete interruption of spinothalamic tracts and of the spinal tracts of the trigeminal system in the brain stem has not been reported. Dissociated sensory loss enveloping the entire body accompanied by truncal and limb ataxia without weakness demonstrated a striking clinical picture. The preservation of deep somatic and visceral pain when cutaneous pain sensation was lost was another notable feature. We review the causes of widespread dissociated sensory loss and discuss the implications of the dissociation of deep from superficial pain.

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