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Locked In Syndrome

It is possible that the main title of the report Locked In Syndrome is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • cerebromedullospinal disconnection
  • de-efferented state
  • pseudocoma

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Locked-in syndrome is a rare neurological disorder in which there is complete paralysis of all voluntary muscles except for the ones that control the movements of the eyes. Individuals with locked-in syndrome are conscious and awake, but have no ability to produce movements (outside of eye movement) or to speak (aphonia). Cognitive function is usually unaffected. Communication is possible through eye movements or blinking. Locked-in syndrome is caused by damaged to the pons, a part of the brainstem that contains nerve fibers that relay information to other areas of the brain.


National Rehabilitation Information Center
8400 Corporate Drive
Suite 500
Landover, MD 20785
United States
Tel: (301)459-5900
Fax: (301)459-4263
Tel: (800)346-2742
TDD: (301)459-5984

National Stroke Association
9707 E. Easter Lane
Suite B
Centennial, CO 80112
Tel: (303)649-9299
Fax: (303)649-1328
Tel: (800)787-6537

NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
Tel: (301)496-5751
Fax: (301)402-2186
Tel: (800)352-9424
TDD: (301)468-5981

United States Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication
100 E. Pennsylvania Avenue, Courtyard
Towson, MD 21286
Tel: (877)887-7222

For a Complete Report:

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated: 8/12/2010
Copyright 1988, 1989, 1997, 2000, 2010 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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