What is the pathophysiology of periodic alternating nystagmus?

Updated: Oct 17, 2018
  • Author: Christopher M Bardorf, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Edsel Ing, MD, MPH, FRCSC  more...
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Answer

Periodic alternating nystagmus is a conjugate, horizontal jerk nystagmus with the fast phase beating in one direction for a period of approximately 1-2 minutes. The nystagmus has an intervening neutral phase lasting 10-20 seconds; the nystagmus begins to beat in the opposite direction for 1-2 minutes; then, the process repeats itself. The presumed mechanism is disruption of the vestibulo-ocular tracts at the pontomedullary junction. [13]


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