Lhermitte's Sign, sometimes called the Barber Chair phenomenon, is an electrical sensation that runs down the back and into the limbs, and is produced by bending the neck forward.
The sign suggests a lesion of the dorsal columns of the cervical cord or of the caudal
medulla. Although often considered a classic finding in multiple sclerosis, it can be caused by a number of conditions, including Behçet's disease, [Page NG, Spiteri MA. Lhermitte's sign in Behçet's disease. "Br Med J (Clin Res Ed)" 1982 March 6; 284(6317): 704–705.] trauma, radiation myelopathy, [Jones A. Transient radiation myelopathy (with reference to Lhermitte's sign of electrical paraesthesia). "Br J Radiol" 1964; 37:727-44.] vitamin B12deficiency (subacute combined degeneration), and compression of the spinal cord in the neck from any cause such as cervical spondylosis, disc herniation, tumor, and Arnold-Chiari malformation. Lhermitte's Sign may also appear during or following high dose chemotherapy. [ Heinzlef et al. Severe neuropathy after high dose carboplatin in three patients receiving multidrug chemotherapy. "J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry" 1998; 64: 667-669.]
Strictly speaking, the Barber Chair phenomenon is a
symptomrather than a sign as it describes a subjective sensation rather than an objective finding. To add more confusion, it is not attributed to its discoverer. [Gutrecht JA. Lhermitte's sign: From observation to eponym. "Arch Neurol" 1989; 46:557-558.] It was first described by Marie and Chatelin in 1917. [Marie P, Chatelin C. Sur certains symptômes vraisemblablement d'origine radiculaire chez les blessés du crâne. "Rev Neural" 1917; 31:336.] Jean Lhermittedid not publish his first report until 1920. [Lhermitte JJ. Les formes douloureuses de la commotion de la moelle épinière. "Rev Neurol" 1920; 36:257-262.] However, in 1924 he did publish the seminal article on the subject which resulted in it becoming well known. [Lhermitte JJ, Bollak NM. Les douleurs à type décharge électrique consécutives à la flexion céphalique dans la sclérose en plaques. Un cas de la sclérose multiple. "Revue neurologique" 1924; 2:56-57.]
Most modern editors prefer the non-possessive form for medical eponyms: Lhermitte sign.
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Lhermitte sign — noun Electric sensations of the spine and limbs induced by flexing the neck forward … Wiktionary