CASE REPORTS
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Hypertrophic olivary degeneration associated with bilateral vocal cord adductor dystonia.

BMC Neurology 2023 March 15
BACKGROUND: Hypertrophic olivary degeneration (HOD) is a rare condition caused by lesions within the dentato-rubro-olivary pathway, resulting in ocular nystagmus and palatal myoclonus (oculopalatal tremor) but not usually dystonia. Dystonia is an uncommon association, and we present the first reported association of hypertrophic olivary degeneration with bilateral vocal cord dystonia.

CASE PRESENTATION: A 33 year old male presented initially with acute hydrocephalus on the background of previous ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunting for previously treated medulloblastoma. After revision of the VP shunt, the patient developed progressive hiccups and stridor leading to respiratory failure requiring intubation. Ocular pendular nystagmus and palatal myoclonus at 3 Hz was observed. Flexible nasendoscopy (FNE) demonstrated bilateral tonic adduction of the vocal folds with 3 Hz coarse supraglottic, pharyngeal and palatal rhythmic myoclonus. MRI imaging demonstrated T2 hyperintensity within the bilateral inferior olivary nuclei consistent with stage 3 radiological HOD.

CONCLUSIONS: Dystonia is a rarely reported phenomenon in HOD but is not unexpected with the inferior olivary nucleus implicated in dystonic disorders. We report the association of HOD with bilateral vocal cord adductor dystonia, a potentially life threatening condition.

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