- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Parsonage-Turner syndrome

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A now obsolete eponym once used to indicate many forms of cryptogenic neurologic atrophy of the shoulder and cervical plexus. Today different mononeuropathies are described as syndromes and cervical plexus neuropathies are indicated by their etiology. This condition presents with severe pain in the shoulder and arm, followed by atrophic paralysis of some muscles of shoulder girdle. Often it is preceded by a generalized aching and fever. If serratus anterior is involved, and it usually is, the scapula wings and the patient has difficult raising his arm upwards and outwards. This type of condition was documented by J. D. Spillane in 1943.

The sequence was first described by Augustin-Nicolas Gendrin (1796-1890) and Alfred Armand Louis Marie Velpeau (1795-1867) in 1835.


  • J. D. Spillane:
    Localised neuritis of the shoulder girdle. The Lancet, London, 1943, ii: 532-535
  • M. J. Parsonage, J. W. Aldren Turner:
    Neuralgic amyotrophy. The shoulder-girdle syndrome.
    The Lancet, London, 1948, I: 973-978.

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