Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis in childhood: report of 10 cases

J Child Neurol. 1999 Mar;14(3):198-201. doi: 10.1177/088307389901400312.


We report 10 children with the diagnosis of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. Diagnosis was based on clinical and radiologic findings, and after acute encephalitis was excluded by negative culture and antibody results. The most common presenting symptom was ataxia, followed by optic neuropathy, cranial nerve palsy, convulsions, motor dysfunction, and loss of consciousness. Brain magnetic resonance imaging showing bilateral symmetrical hyper-intense lesions of the same age in brain stem, subcortical white matter, thalamus, basal ganglia, or cerebellum was the mainstay of the diagnosis. The presence of a preceding event (either an infection or vaccination) was present in 8 of 10 patients. Brain computed tomographic scans were abnormal in 3 of 10, and electroencephalogram was normal in all patients. High-dose corticosteroids were given to six patients, one received low-dose steroids, and the other three had symptomatic follow-up. Those who relapsed were mainly from the symptomatic follow-up group. Only one patient (the youngest) receiving high-dose methylprednisolone relapsed. Therefore, early high-dose steroid treatment seems to be the most effective treatment in acute disseminated encephalomyelitis and can prevent relapses.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Encephalomyelitis, Acute Disseminated / diagnosis*
  • Encephalomyelitis, Acute Disseminated / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Methylprednisolone / therapeutic use
  • Physical Examination
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Prednisone
  • Methylprednisolone