Short Myelitis Lesions in Aquaporin-4-IgG-Positive Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorders

Short transverse myelitis (STM; <3 vertebral segments) is considered non-characteristic of neuromyelitis optica (NMO) spectrum disorders (NMOSDs). Non-appreciation of the potential for STM to occur in NMOSD may lead to increased disability from delay in diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Mayo Clinic researchers conducted a study, recently published in Jama Neurology, to determine the frequency of short lesions at the initial myelitis manifestation of NMOSD and to compare the demographic, clinical, and radiological characteristics of aquaporin-4-IgG (AQP4-IgG) seropositive and seronegative STM.

According to the study, 25 patients who were AQP4-IgG seropositive with an initial STM represented 14% of initial myelitis episodes among patients with NMOSD. The STM episode was defined as the first manifestation of NMOSD in 10 patients (40%) preceded by optic neuritis in 13 patients (52%) and preceded by a nausea and vomiting episode in two patients (8%).

Based on these results, short transverse myelitis is not uncommon in NMOSD and, when it is present, delays diagnosis and treatment. Clinical and radiological characteristics identified in this study may help select patients with STM who are at the highest risk for an NMOSD. Short transverse myelitis does not exclude consideration of AQP4-IgG testing or NMOSD diagnosis.

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Kelley Schreiber

Kelley Schreiber is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Medical Laboratories. She is the principle editor and writer of Insights and leads social media and direct marketing strategy. Kelley has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2013. Outside of work, you can find Kelley running, traveling, playing with her new kitten, and exploring new foods.