Westphal's sign is the clinical correlate of the absence or decrease of patellar reflex or knee jerk. Patellar reflex or knee jerk is a kind of deep or stretch reflex where an application of a stimulus to the patellar tendon such as strike by a solid object or hammer caused the leg to extend due to such stimulus causes the quadriceps femoris muscle to contract.
Westphal's sign has a clinical significance used in determining neurodisorders or diseases such as:
- receptor damage, peripheral nerve disease, involving the dorsal(sensory) columns of the spinal cord and cerebellar lesions
- lesions present within the motor cortex of the brain or the pyramidal tracts which it combined with muscular spasms[clarification needed]
- complete interruption of sensory and/or motor impulse transmission in the femoral nerve
- The Principles of Physiology Jensen, David Ph.D., Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York.1976
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