Finding the key: acute locked-in syndrome treated with interventional neuroradiology

Gordon Stuart
Med J Aust 2013; 198 (2): . || doi: 10.5694/mja12.10992
Published online: 4 February 2013

A neurosurgeon’s personal account of recovery from a potentially catastrophic event

On 30 December 2011, I, a 77-year-old, semiretired neurosurgeon with a 16-year history of controlled auricular fibrillation, awoke at 3:00 in the morning with intense vertigo, nausea and vomiting. After vomiting I collapsed on the bathroom floor, with painful spasms in my left leg. I was then unable to move, speak, cough or clear secretions from my mouth. I was still conscious and able to see and feel, but was unable to move any voluntary muscles. In the absence of headache I reasoned that an ischaemic event involving the brainstem was occurring. At that stage I hoped that I would not survive in that state.

  • Gordon Stuart

  • Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, QLD.



I would like to acknowledge the prompt, expert interventional neuroradiology by John Clouston, Director of Radiology.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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