First episode of acute CNS inflammatory demyelination in childhood: prognostic factors for multiple sclerosis and disability

J Pediatr. 2004 Feb;144(2):246-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2003.10.056.


Objectives: To evaluate prognostic factors for second attack and for disability in children presenting with an initial episode of central nervous system (CNS) demyelination.

Study design: A cohort of 296 children having a first episode of acute CNS inflammatory demyelination was studied by survival analysis.

Results: The average follow-up was 2.9+/-3 years. At the end of the follow-up, 57% of patients had a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), 29% had a monophasic acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, and 14% had a single focal episode. The rate of a second attack was (1). higher in patients with age at onset >or=10 years (hazard ratio, 1.67; 95% CI, 1.04-2.67), MS-suggestive initial MRI (1.54; 1.02-2.33), or optic nerve lesion (2.59; 1.27-5.29); and (2). lower in patients with myelitis (0.23; 0.10-0.56) or mental status change (0.59; 0.33-1.07). Of patients with a second attack, 29% had an initial diagnosis of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. At the end of the follow-up period, 90% of patients had no or minor disability. Occurrence of severe disability was associated with a polysymptomatic onset (3.25; 1.16-11.01), sequelae after the first attack (26.65; 9.42-75.35), further relapses (1.49; 1.16-1.92), and progressive MS (3.57; 1.21-8.72).

Conclusions: Risk of second attack of CNS demyelination is higher in older patients and lower in patients with mental status change. Risk of disability is higher in polysymptomatic and relapsing patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Age of Onset
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / complications*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition Disorders / complications
  • Cohort Studies
  • Demyelinating Diseases / complications*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Encephalomyelitis, Acute Disseminated / diagnosis
  • Encephalomyelitis, Acute Disseminated / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis
  • Multiple Sclerosis / etiology
  • Myelitis, Transverse / complications
  • Optic Neuritis / complications
  • Optic Neuritis / diagnosis
  • Prognosis
  • Recurrence
  • Survival Analysis