Mortality in multiple sclerosis: a review

Eur J Neurol. 2008 Feb;15(2):123-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2007.02019.x.


This work was undertaken to evaluate studies on mortality caused by multiple sclerosis (MS), to evaluate if useful inferences can be drawn from survival studies that can be applied to clinical practice. A literature search was carried out to find epidemiological studies on MS prognosis, survival, mortality and causes of death relevant to our aim. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports on worldwide cause-specific mortality were also considered. Studies were evaluated according to the duration of the follow-up study, the year of publication and the methodology used. We evaluated MS survival from a methodological point of view and considered if time trends could be drawn from study results. We conclude that mortality is only slightly higher in MS patients when compared with that in the general population. Mortality is higher particularly for older patients and those with longer disease duration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Cause of Death
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy
  • Multiple Sclerosis / mortality*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors