A case of locked-in syndrome complicated by central deafness

A case of locked-in syndrome complicated by central deafness

Colette M. Smart, Joseph T. Giacino, Tara Cullen, Diana Rodriguez Moreno, Joy Hirsch, Nicholas D. Schiff and Martin Gizzi

Nature Clin. Pract. Neurol. 4, 448-453 (2008)


Backgound: A 53-year-old male with a history of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and factor V deficiency presented to an emergancy room with progressively increasing headache, slurred speech, and left upper extremity weakness. Over the previous 3 months, he had been receiving warfarin for prophylaxis deep venous thrombosis following knee surgery. After presentation and an initial period of coma, he became tetraplegic and anarthric, requiring intubation and ventilatory assistance.

Investigations: Neurological examination, CT scan, electroencephalogram brainstem auditory and visual evoked potential studies, neuropsychological assessment and functional MRI studies.

Diagnosis: Locked-in syndrome following ventral pontine hemorrhage, complicated by central deafness secondary to extension of the lesion to the inferior colliculus.

Management: Development of an augmentative communication system designed to exploit the patient's preserved cognitive and motor functions.

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