Top of the basilar artery embolic stroke and neonatal myoclonus



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Errata Volume 51, Issue 9, 761, Article first published online: 23 July 2009

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  • Acknowledgments
    We are grateful to Liesbeth Smit, neuropaediatrician at Sophia Children’s Hospital, Erasmus MC – University Medical Center Rotterdam, who was responsible for the acute treatment and follow-up of the patient described.

Dr Paul Govaert at Sophia Children’s Hospital, Erasmus MC − University Medical Center Rotterdam, Dr Molewaterplein 60, 3015 GJ Rotterdam, the Netherlands. E-mail:


Cerebellar stroke has been virtually unreported in the living newborn infant. A term newborn male weighing 3380g at birth suffered myoclonic seizures within 24 hours of birth by spontaneous vaginal delivery. Apgar scores were 3 and 4 at 1 and 5 minutes. Myoclonus persisted for 9 days, responding poorly to step-up anticonvulsant treatment including lidocaine, midazolam, and clonazepam. Imaging documented arterial ischaemic stroke within the left posterior cerebral and both superior cerebellar arteries, compatible with top of the basilar artery stroke. There was no electrographic correlate for the seizures. Disturbed oscillation within the dentato-rubro-olivary circuitry was the likely mechanism. The probable cause was embolism from an in-utero-onset inferior caval vein thrombosis. At 22 months the child was sitting unsupported. Scores on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development II were equivalent to those of a 12-month-year-old. He showed ataxic motor behaviour. Embolism can cause neonatal top of the basilar artery stroke, which may present with myoclonus due to cerebellar injury.