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Table of Contents    
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 63  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 459

"Owl eye sign": Anterior spinal artery syndrome

Department of Radiodiagnosis, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication5-Jun-2015

Correspondence Address:
Alok Kumar Udiya
Department of Radiodiagnosis, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Raebarielly Road, Lucknow - 226 014, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.158286

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How to cite this article:
Udiya AK, Shetty GS, Singh V, Phadke RV. "Owl eye sign": Anterior spinal artery syndrome. Neurol India 2015;63:459

How to cite this URL:
Udiya AK, Shetty GS, Singh V, Phadke RV. "Owl eye sign": Anterior spinal artery syndrome. Neurol India [serial online] 2015 [cited 2020 Feb 19];63:459. Available from:

An 18-year-old girl presented with acute onset of loss of pain and temperature sensation below the chest level and spastic quadriparesis following lifting of a heavy weight above the level of the shoulders. This classical clinical presentation of motor involvement with loss of pain and temperature sensation in the absence of loss of touch or posterior column signs suggested a dissociated anesthesia. This led to the clinical suspicion of an anterior spinal artery syndrome. A clinical differential diagnosis was an intramedullary lesion. Although the clinical diagnosis of an anterior spinal artery syndrome is sometimes difficult to establish, it can be reached by a careful clinical examination supported by the pathognomonic magnetic resonance imaging findings.

The classical "owl eye sign" on axial images involving central-anterior cord substance is suggestive of anterior spinal artery syndrome [Figure 1]. Anterior spinal artery syndrome is a rare presentation of acute spinal cord infarction. The etiology is varied ranging from atherosclerosis, vasculitis, surgery, aortic dissection, and acute trauma. It has to be differentiated from spinal multiple sclerosis (MS), the main points of differentiation being the involvement of antero-central cord substance corresponding to the vascular territory of anterior spinal artery and vertical extension over two spinal segments. MS plaques involve peripheral cord substance and seldom extend over two spinal cord segments. [1],[2]
Figure 1: Magnetic resonance imaging (a and b) T2-weighted sagittal image showing long segment linear hyperintensity in lower cervical cord. (c) Axial T2-weighted image showing antero-central cord hyperintensity (owl eye sign)

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 » References Top

Foo D, Rossier AB. Anterior spinal artery syndrome and its natural history. Paraplegia 1983;21:1-10.  Back to cited text no. 1
Takahashi S, Yamada T, Ishii K, Saito H, Tanji H, Kobayashi T, et al. MRI of anterior spinal artery syndrome of the cervical spinal cord. Neuroradiology 1992;35:25-9.  Back to cited text no. 2


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