Osmotic demyelination syndrome
Definition of Central pontine myelinolysis
Central pontine myelinolysis is brain cell dysfunction caused by the destruction of the layer (myelin sheath) covering nerve cells in the brainstem (pons).
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The destruction of the myelin sheath that covers nerve cells prevents signals from being properly transmitted in the nerve. This decreases the nerve’s ability to communicate with other cells.
Signs and tests
An examination may show:
This is an emergency disorder. You will need to go to a hospital for diagnosis and treatment. However, most people with this condition are already in the hospital for another condition.
The nerve damage caused by central pontine myelinolysis is usually long-lasting. The disorder can cause serious long-term (chronic) disability.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/27/2010