Frequency of Bilateral Hypertrophic Olivary Degeneration in a Large Retrospective Cohort

Carrie M. Carr, Christopher H. Hunt, Timothy J. Kaufmann, Amy L. Kotsenas, Karl N. Krecke, Christopher P. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Hypertrophic olivary degeneration (HOD) is an uncommon type of transneuronal degeneration. Case reports and case series described in the literature provide a foundation of our current knowledge of HOD. These reports have described HOD most frequently to be unilateral and occurring in association with lesions in the dentato-rubro-olivary pathway. Our purpose was to evaluate the rate of bilateral versus unilateral HOD in a large case series. METHODS: A retrospective review was performed to identify patients in which the phrase "hypertrophic olivary degeneration" occurred in the radiology report. A diagnosis of HOD was confirmed on imaging if there was focal hyperintensity on T2-weighted images confined to either or both inferior olivary nuclei. RESULTS: A total of 102 patients had findings consistent with HOD. Of these, 76% had findings bilaterally. In 44%, a lesion could not be identified to explain HOD. Bilateral HOD was common in both lesional and nonlesional group, though more common in the nonlesional group. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that HOD is frequently bilateral. In slightly over 50% of patients with HOD, a lesion can be identified. In just under 50% patients with HOD, a lesion could not be identified and in these cases HOD was present bilaterally in the majority.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-295
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroimaging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Bilateral
  • Hypertrophic olivary degeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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