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Handb Clin Neurol. 2012;103:147-60. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-51892-7.00008-5.

Ataxia in patients with brain infarcts and hemorrhages.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA 02215-5400, USA.


Gait and limb incoordination and ataxia are most often found in patients with brainstem and cerebellar infarcts and hemorrhages. Lesions involving the thalamus and the deep portions of the cerebral hemispheres also may cause ataxia accompanied by weakness and sensory symptoms. Patients who have lesions in the lateral medulla and inferior cerebellum often topple, lean, or veer when attempting to sit, stand, or walk. They list to the side or abruptly veer when walking. The affected limbs are often hypotonic. In pontine lesions, ataxia is accompanied by weakness and pyramidal tract signs as part of an ataxic hemiparesis syndrome. In lesions affecting the superior cerebellum and the brachium conjunctivum, limb dysmetria and overshoot and dysarthria predominate and gait ataxia is absent or slight and transient. Infarcts affecting the thalamus can cause gait instability and astasia with ataxia. Lateral thalamic lesions are characterized by hemisensory symptoms, extrapyramidal limb postures and dysfunction, and gait ataxia. Lesions that affect the posterior limb of the internal capsule and its afferent and efferent projections may also cause an ataxic hemiparesis syndrome, often with accompanying hemisensory abnormalities.

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