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Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis—Experience of a Tertiary Care Center
Background Pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis (POMS) accounts for 3 to 10% of all MS diagnoses. POMS is usually characterized by prominent disease activity, and patients are at higher risk of developing physical disability and cognitive impairment.
Objective This article characterizes a cohort of POMS patients followed at the pediatric neurology unit of a Portuguese tertiary hospital.
Methods Retrospective observational study. Clinical records of all patients with POMS between 2011 and 2020 were revised.
Results A total of 21 patients, with a female:male ratio of 11:10 and a mean age of onset of 14.8 years were included. Clinical manifestations at presentation included myelitis in eight patients (two with associated brainstem syndrome), optic neuritis in six (one with associated cerebellar syndrome), supratentorial symptoms in four, and isolated brainstem syndrome in two. Twenty patients had oligoclonal immunoglobulin G bands in cerebrospinal fluid. Supra- and infratentorial involvement was identified in the first brain magnetic resonance imaging of nine patients. Initial relapses were treated with intravenous steroids in 19 patients. The mean time for diagnosis was 2.8 months. Eleven patients were on first-line treatment (nine on β-interferon, two on teriflunomide) and 10 on second-line treatment (six on natalizumab, three on fingolimod, one on ocrelizumab). The mean annual relapse rate was 0.29 (range, 0.01–3), and the median Expanded Disability Status Scale was 1. Four patients reported learning disabilities and/or cognitive deficits.
Conclusion About half of patients in this cohort were on second-line disease-modifying treatment, with 19% showing cognitive impairment. Efforts to establish an early diagnosis are crucial to improving these patients' outcomes.
Received: 27 July 2022
Accepted: 05 November 2022
Article published online:
16 January 2023
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