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Myelitis: Differences between multiple sclerosis and other aetiologies

S. Presas-Rodríguez, L. Grau-López, J.V. Hervás-García, A. Massuet-Vilamajó, C. Ramo-Tello

Neurología, Available online 14 September 2015, doi:10.1016/j.nrl.2015.07.006

Abstract
 

Background

Myelitis can appear as an initial symptom in the context of demyelinating diseases, systemic inflammatory diseases, and infectious diseases. We aim to analyse the differences between myelitis associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) and myelitis resulting from other aetiologies.

Methods

Single-centre, retrospective analysis of patients with initial myelitis (2000-2013). Demographic, aetiological, clinical, radiological and prognostic variables were analysed and compared between patients with myelitis from MS and those with myelitis due to other aetiologies.

Results

We included 91 patients; mean follow-up was 7 years. Diagnoses were as follows: MS 57 (63%), idiopathic transverse myelitis 22 (24%), associated systemic diseases 6 (7%), and other diagnoses (6%). Myelitis due to MS was associated with younger age of onset (35 ± 11 vs. 41 ± 13; P  =  .02), more pronounced sphincter involvement (40.4 vs. 27.3%; P=.05), greater multifocal involvement in spinal MRI (77.2 vs. 26.5%; P=.001), shorter lesion extension (2.4 vs. 1.4 vertebral segments; P=.001), cervical location (82.5 vs. 64.7%; P=.05) and posterior location (89.5 vs. 41.2%; P=.001). Myelitis due to other aetiologies more frequently showed anterior location (47.1 vs. 24.6%; P=.02), and central cord involvement (47.1 vs. 14.1%; P=.001), with better recovery at one year of follow up (EDSS 2.0 vs. 1.5; P=.01). Multivariate analysis showed that multifocal spinal cord involvement (OR 9.38, 95% CI: 2.04-43.1) and posterior cord involvement (OR 2.16, 95% CI: 2.04-2.67) were independently associated with the diagnosis of MS.

Conclusions

A high percentage of patients with an initial myelitis event will be diagnosed with MS. The presence of multifocal and posterior spinal cord lesions was significantly associated with the diagnosis of MS.


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About the Editors

  • Prof Timothy Vartanian

    Timothy Vartanian, Professor at the Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Department of Neurology, Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell...
  • Dr Claire S. Riley

    Claire S. Riley, MD is an assistant attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology in the Neurological Institute, Columbia University,...
  • Dr Rebecca Farber

    Rebecca Farber, MD is an attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology at the Neurological Institute, Columbia University, in New...

This online Resource Centre has been made possible by a donation from EMD Serono, Inc., a business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

Note that EMD Serono, Inc., has no editorial control or influence over the content of this Resource Centre. The Resource Centre and all content therein are subject to an independent editorial review.

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supports promising translational research projects by academic researchers to improve understanding of multiple sclerosis (MS) for the ultimate benefit of patients.  For full information and application details, please click here

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