Author(s): Huda S.; Whittam D.; Bhojak M.; Noonan C.; Jacob A.; Chamberlain J.
Source: Clinical medicine (London, England); Mar 2019; vol. 19 (no. 2); p. 169-176
Publication Date: Mar 2019
Publication Type(s): Review
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Abstract:Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) is an uncommon antibody-mediated disease of the central nervous system. Long segments of spinal cord inflammation (myelitis), severe optic neuritis, and/or bouts of intractable vomiting and hiccoughs (area postrema syndrome) are classic presentations of the disease and may alert the clinician to the diagnosis. Untreated, approximately 50% of NMOSD patients will be wheelchair users and blind, and a third will have died within 5 years of their first attack. Unlike multiple sclerosis, a progressive clinical course is very unusual and the accrual of disability is related to relapses. Approximately 75% of patients have antibodies against aquaporin-4, a water channel expressed on astrocytes. Relapses are treated aggressively to prevent residual disability with high-dose steroids and often plasma exchange. Relapse prevention is crucial and achieved with long-term immunosuppression. In this article we review the pathogenesis, clinical features, diagnosis and management of NMOSD.
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