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Meningovascular syphilis or syphilitic myelopathy (tabes dorsalis)

Meningovascular syphilis or syphilitic myelopathy (tabes dorsalis)

Such disease as "tabes dorsalis" after invention of penicillin became less frequent in patients with syphilis, than it was in the pre-penicillin era of humanity. The diagnosis of meningovascular syphilis (syphilitic myelopathy) should be kept in mind in differential diagnosis in the case of major neurological syndromes, which occur in other spinal cord diseases.

The most common symptoms of meningovascular syphilis (tabes dorsalis) - is the patient's complaints of pain. Pain in tabes dorsalis pass quickly and may be recurrent. It is occur like pain radiating to the leg. Much less pain in tabes dorsalis can be felt on the face, back, chest, abdomen and arms.

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In patients with meningovascular syphilis (tabes dorsalis) occur bladder function disorders, erectile dysfunction and delayed ejaculation in men.

In half of patients with tabes dorsalis appears a gait impairment by type of ataxia. Ataxia is caused by position loss of sense, as a result it causes an imbalance, increasing on closing eyes (Romberg's test). In 15-30% of patients were sensitivity disorders (paresthesia). Along with this, there are bladder disorders, erectile dysfunction and delayed ejaculation in men, acute abdominal pain and vomiting (visceral crises).

The most characteristic symptoms of tabes dorsalis:

  • absence of tendon reflexes on the legs (Achilles, knee),
  • disorders in position sense of and vibration sensitivity,
  • loss of balance with closed eyes in a standing position (positive Romberg test),
  • bilateral pupillary disorders - an Argyll Robertson symptom (no pupil constriction under illumination with preservation of their response to the accommodation).

For the treatment of patients with meningovascular syphilis (tabes dorsalis) prescribed penicillin intravenously in combination with other symptomatic therapy.



If you have any questions on the diagnosis or treatment of meningovascular syphilis, you can ask them to our neurosurgeon or neurologist: (499) 130–08–09


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