Clinically isolated acute transverse myelitis: prognostic features and incidence.

Department of Neurology, Christchurch Public Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Multiple Sclerosis (Impact Factor: 4.47). 10/2009; 15(11):1295-302. DOI:10.1177/1352458509345906
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Demyelinating acute transverse myelitis may be the first presentation of multiple sclerosis or remain a clinically isolated syndrome. North Canterbury, New Zealand provides a well circumscribed population to study acute transverse myelitis. Objective: to identify prognostic features, clinical outcomes and incidence of ATM in North Canterbury, New Zealand. All patients with acute transverse myelitis as a first neurological presentation diagnosed from January 2001 to December 2005 at a single institution providing all neurological care for North Canterbury were assessed for clinical data, MRI findings, cerebrospinal fluid results and clinical outcomes. CHAMPS, Barkhof/Tintore and Swanton criteria were applied to brain MRI. Sixty-one patients were identified with a mean duration of follow-up of 30 +/- 17 months. Fifty percent of patients with ATM with brain lesions by CHAMPS criteria converted to clinically definite multiple sclerosis. No patients with idiopathic acute transverse myelitis converted to clinically definite multiple sclerosis. There was a strong association with conversion to clinically definite multiple sclerosis and abnormal brain MRI by CHAMPS criteria (hazard ratio, 5.63; 1.83-17.3), Barkhof/Tintore criteria (hazard ratio, 6.43; 2.31-17.9) and Swanton criteria (hazard ratio, 4.53; 1.67-12.3). The age standardized annual incidence of acute transverse myelitis was 24.6 (18.2-31.1) per million, of definite and possible idiopathic acute transverse myelitis was 6.2 (2.9-9.6) per million, and of acute transverse myelitis with brain lesions was 4.7 (1.9-7.6) per million. Patients with idiopathic acute transverse myelitis are at low risk for conversion to clinically definite multiple sclerosis. Abnormal brain MRI by CHAMPS criteria is a sensitive predictor of conversion to clinically definite multiple sclerosis. The annual incidence of acute transverse multiple sclerosis in North Canterbury, New Zealand is significantly higher than previously reported.

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    ABSTRACT: The term "acute transverse myelitis (ATM)" comprises various non-traumatic disorders that eventually can be associated with a focal myelopathy. Patients characteristically present with an acutely occurring paraparesis/plegia and require a comprehensive and timely diagnostic work up for the initiation of an appropriate treatment. We present a case of a 36-year-old female patient with a rare genetic disorder (ANE1: Acute Necrotizing Encephalopathy due to a RANBP2 mutation) who presented with an acute quadriplegia. Following an acute pulmonal infection, she rapidly (< 24 h) developed a severe quadriplegia (total motor score 38) with some facial sensory symptoms (perioral hypoesthesia). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed a combination of longitudinal extensive transverse myelitis and symmetrical thalamic lesions. A work-up for infectious and systemic diseases was negative; specifically, no findings related to multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica or vascular disorders. After empirical high dose steroid treatment and rehabilitation therapy, the patient gained almost normal gait and upper limb function. She was found to carry an autosomal-dominant missense mutation in the RANBP2 gene predisposing for ANE. Gene segregation was confirmed in other family members that had been affected by other episodes of acute steroid-responsive encephalopathies. We propose that a redefined diagnostic workup of ATM might include ANE1, as the frequency of this rare disorder might be underestimated.
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