Background: Neuromyelitis optica with onset before the age of 18 years is a relatively rare, yet potentially devastating condition. The objective of the present study was to contribute to the study of early-onset neuromyelitis optica with a case series.
Patients: Data were collected from medical records of Brazilian neurologists caring for patients with neuromyelitis optica occurring in childhood and adolescence.
Results: Twenty-nine patients with neuromyelitis optica occurring before the age of 18 years and fulfilling the diagnostic criteria were identified. The average age at disease onset was 13 years and the patients had had an average disease duration of 6 years. The expanded disability scale score at the latest consultation was, on average, 4.7, and one patient had died from the disease. The 29 patients had had an average 4.5 relapses during the disease, accounting for 0.75 relapses per year, irrespective of the medication used. All patients were using one or more of the following medications: azathioprine, prednisone, immunoglobulin, and glatiramer acetate.
Conclusions: Neuromyelitis optica with onset in childhood and adolescence is a poorly understood condition that is often disabling and difficult to manage.
Keywords: Devic; adolescents; children; demyelinating diseases; multiple sclerosis; neuromyelitis optica.
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