Benign type of central pontine myelinolysis in alcoholism--clinical, neuroradiological and electrophysiological findings

J Neurol. 2003 Sep;250(9):1077-83. doi: 10.1007/s00415-003-0157-6.


Nine alcoholic patients with central pontine myelinolysis (CPM),who showed a favorable prognosis, are reported. The majority of them had taken part in binge drinking and had a subsequent consciousness disturbance for 18.1+/-10.9 (mean+/-SD) days. None of the patients had had acute correction of hyponatremia. Truncal ataxia and gait instability were present in most of the patients after recovery from the disturbance of consciousness. Most of them eventually gained independence, and magnetic resonance imaging showed that their pontine lesions tended to shrink. Electrophysiological studies detected prolonged latency between the I and III waves in auditory brainstem responses and between N11 and P13/14 onsets in the somatosensory evoked potentials. These clinical, radiological and electrophysiological findings should be of use in diagnosing CPM.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcoholism / complications*
  • Alcoholism / pathology*
  • Alcoholism / physiopathology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Electrophysiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myelinolysis, Central Pontine / complications*
  • Myelinolysis, Central Pontine / pathology*
  • Myelinolysis, Central Pontine / physiopathology