Objectives: To characterize the clinical, demographic and epidemiological features of MS patients from the only specialised MS centre in Iraq.
Methods: Data for consecutive Iraqi MS patients attending the Baghdad Multidiscipline MS Clinic between 2000 and 2002 who fulfilled Poser et al. criteria for clinically definite (CD) and clinically probable (CP) MS were reviewed.
Results: We identified a total of 300 MS patients (164 females, 54.7%; 136 males, 45.3%) with a mean age of onset being 29.2+/-7.8 years and the duration being 8.6+/-5.9 years. According to the year of clinical onset of MS, a progressive increase in cases in the last two decades and a trend towards more females was noted. Initial symptom was reported as motor in 31.7%, sensory in 28.3%, optic nerve in 24% and brainstem or cerebellar in 22.3% of patients. The course was relapsing-remitting in 199 (66.3%) patients, secondary progressive in 56 (18.7%) and primary progressive (PP) in 45 (15%) patients.
Conclusions: MS is not rare in Iraq; its demographic and clinical data were, in general, similar to those reported in Caucasian populations. There was some evidence for North-South gradient and a possible increasing incidence characterized by an increase in female preponderance during the last 2 decades.