Olivopontocerebellar atrophy
St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

Olivopontocerebellar atrophy

Definition

Olivopontocerebellar atrophy is a disease that causes areas deep in the brain, just above the spinal cord, to shrink.

Alternative Names

OPCA; Olivopontocerebellar degeneration; Multiple system atrophy – cerebellar predominance; MSA-C

Causes

Olivopontocerebellar atrophy can be passed down through families (inherited form), or it may affect people without a known family history (sporadic form).

Researchers have identified certain genes that are involved in the inherited form of this condition.

The cause of olivopontocerebellar atrophy in those without a history of the disease is not known. The disease slowly gets worse (is progressive).

This disease is slightly more common in men than in women. The average age of onset is 54 years old.

Symptoms

Symptoms tend to start sooner at a younger age in people with the inherited form. The main symptom is clumsiness (ataxia) that slowly gets worse. There may also be problems with balance, slurring of speech, and difficulty walking.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Abnormal movements
  • Bowel or bladder problems
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Lightheadedness when standing
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle stiffness or rigidity
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy)
  • Tremor
  • Sexual function problems

Exams and Tests

A thorough medical and neurological examination, as well as a symptom and family history, are needed to make the diagnosis.

There are no specific tests for this condition. An MRI of the brain may show changes in the size of affected brain structures, especially as the disease gets worse. This is helpful in making the diagnosis, but does not necessarily rule out the condition.

Other tests may be done to rule out other conditions. This may include swallowing studies to see if a person can safely swallow food and liquid.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment or cure for this disease. Therapy is aimed at treating symptoms and preventing complications. This may include:

  • Tremor medications, such as those used to treat Parkinson's disease
  • Speech and physical therapy
  • Techniques to prevent choking
  • Walking aids to help with balance and prevent falls

Outlook (Prognosis)

The disease slowly gets worse, and there is no cure. The outlook is generally poor. However, it may be years before someone becomes significantly disabled.

Possible Complications

  • Choking
  • Infection from inhaling food into the lungs (aspiration pneumonia)
  • Injury from falls
  • Nutrition problems due to difficulty swallowing

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you have any symptoms of olivopontocerebellar atrophy. You will need a referral to a neurologist.

References

Apostolova LG, DeKosky ST, Cummings JL. Dementias. In: Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, eds. Bradley’s Neurology in Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 66.

Lang AE. Parkinsonism. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 416.


Review Date: 8/28/2012
Reviewed By: Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com
 


Back  |  Top
About Us
Contact Us
History
Mission
Locations & Directions
Quality Reports
Annual Reports
Honors & Awards
Community Health Needs
Assessment

Newsroom
Services
Brain & Spine
Cancer
Heart
Maternity
Orthopedics
Pulmonary
Sleep Medicine
Urgent Care
Women's Services
All Services
Patients & Visitors
Locations & Directions
Find a Physician
Tour St. Luke's
Patient & Visitor Information
Contact Us
Payment Options
Financial Assistance
Send a Card
Mammogram Appointments
Health Tools
My Personal Health
mystlukes
Spirit of Women
Health Information & Tools
Clinical Trials
Health Risk Assessments
Employer Programs -
Passport to Wellness

Classes & Events
Classes & Events
Spirit of Women
Donate & Volunteer
Giving Opportunities
Volunteer
Physicians & Employees
For Physicians
Remote Access
Medical Residency Information
Pharmacy Residency Information
Physician CPOE Training
Careers
Careers
St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile