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Spiller's syndrome

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A syndrome characterized by sensory disturbances, localized or diffuse pain in the back, chest, or legs, which may be followed by symptomatic weakness in the knees, and transverse myelitis. Sensory symptoms consist of numbness of the lower extremities or the trunk, often associated with hyperaesthesia in varying degree of severity. Vasomotor and atrophic changes, and sphincter insufficiency may develop.

It is caused by thrombophlebitis of the meningorachidian veins with subacute and chronic pachymeningitis.

Spiller in 1911 first reported two cases. Fay in 1937 described three cases and one year later reported 28 additional cases.


  • J. M. Charcot, A. Joffroy:
    Deux cas d’atrophie musculaire progressive avec lésions de la substance grise et des faiseaux antérolatéraux de la moelle épinière.
    Archives de physiologie normale et pathologique, Paris, 1869, 2: 354-367.
  • W. G. Spiller:
    Epidural ascending spinal paralysis.
    Review of neurology and psychiatry, 1911, 9: 494-498.
  • Temple Fay, in:
    Confinia Neurologica, Basel, 1938, 1: 162.

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