Foster–Kennedy syndrome

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Foster–Kennedy syndrome
Frontal lobe(on the right)
Classification and external resources
Specialty neurology
ICD-9-CM 377.04
DiseasesDB 31967

Foster–Kennedy syndrome (also known as Gowers–Paton–Kennedy syndrome, Kennedy's phenomenon or Kennedy's syndrome) refers to a constellation of findings associated with tumors of the frontal lobe.[1]

Although Foster–Kennedy syndrome is equated with Kennedy syndrome,[2] it should not be confused with Kennedy disease, which is named for William R. Kennedy.

Pseudo-Foster–Kennedy syndrome is defined as one-sided optic atrophy with papilledema in the other eye but with the absence of a mass.[3]


The syndrome is defined as the following changes:

  • optic atrophy in the ipsilateral eye
  • disc edema in the contralateral eye
  • central scotoma (loss of vision in the middle of the visual fields) in the ipsilateral eye
  • anosmia (loss of smell) ipsilaterally

This syndrome is due to optic nerve compression, olfactory nerve compression, and increased intracranial pressure (ICP) secondary to a mass (such as meningioma or plasmacytoma, usually an olfactory groove meningioma).[4][5] There are other symptoms present in some cases such as nausea and vomiting, memory loss and emotional lability (i.e., frontal lobe signs).[5]


Treatment and prognosis[edit]

The treatment, and therefore prognosis, varies depending upon the underlying tumour.[5]


The syndrome was first extensively noted by Robert Foster Kennedy in 1911, a British neurologist, who spent most of his career working in the United States of America.[6] However, the first mention of the syndrome came from a William Gowers in 1893. Schultz-Zehden described the symptoms again in 1905. A later description was written by Wilhelm Uhthoff in 1915.[7]


  1. ^ "Kennedy syndrome" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  2. ^ "Foster Kennedy syndrome" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  3. ^ Bansal S, Dabbs T, Long V (2008). "Pseudo-Foster Kennedy Syndrome due to unilateral optic nerve hypoplasia: a case report". J Med Case Reports. 2: 86. doi:10.1186/1752-1947-2-86. PMC 2278154Freely accessible. PMID 18348732. Retrieved 2008-08-13. 
  4. ^ Longmore, Murray; Ian Wilkinson; Tom Turmezei; Chee Kay Cheung (2007). Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine (7th ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 690. ISBN 0-19-856837-1. 
  5. ^ a b c Willacy, Hayley. "Foster Kennedy syndrome". Retrieved 2008-08-13. 
  6. ^ Thorofare, NJ (1911). Kennedy F; Retrobulbar neuritis as an exact diagnostic sign of certain tumors and abscesses in the frontal lobe. American Journal of the Medical Sciences. 
  7. ^ "Kennedy's syndrome". Retrieved 2008-08-13.