E-Pearl of the Week: Eagle Syndrome

August 30, 2011


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August 29, 2011

Eagle Syndrome

Described in 1937, Eagle syndrome refers to clinical symptoms caused by an elongated styloid process or a calcified stylohyoid ligament. Classically it presents with odynophagia, dysphagia, neck or ear pain, hypersalivation or dysphonia. These symptoms are believed to be caused by irritation of cranial nerves. It may also present with transient ischemic attack symptoms or syncope on rotation of the head that resolve on returning the head to neutral position. Compression of the (external) carotid artery is thought to be the primary mechanism for these neurologic symptoms.

Diagnosis is made by palpation of the styloid process in the tonsillar fossa as well as radiographic imaging.


  1. Chuang WC, Short JH, McKinney AM, Anker L, Knoll B, McKinney ZJ. Reversible left hemispheric ischemia secondary to carotid compression in Eagle syndrome: surgical and CT angiographic correlation. Am J Neuroradiol. 2007; 28:143-145.
  2. Murtagh RD, Caracciolo JT, Fernandez G. CT findings associated with Eagle syndrome. Am J Neuroradiol. 2001; 22: 1401-1402.

Submitted by:
Andrew J Westwood MD, MRCP

Disclosure: Dr. Westwood reports no disclosures.

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