To identify factors associated with plasma exchange response in neuromyelitis optica (NMO) spectrum disorders, the clinical and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features of 31 NMO-IgG-positive patients receiving plasma exchange for steroid-resistant exacerbations were analyzed. Functional improvement was observed in 65% of the patients. A lower baseline Expanded Disability Status Scale score was associated with favorable response (p = 0.040). Patients without cord atrophy had a higher success rate than patients with atrophy (p = 0.016). Levels of NMO-IgG did not differ between responders and non-responders before and after plasma exchange. In conclusion, a minimal pre-existing disability is the primary determinant of the effectiveness of plasma exchange.
Keywords: Plasma exchange; neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders; neuromyelitis optica-IgG; prognostic factors.