Longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis in childhood: Clinical features, treatment approaches, and long-term neurological outcomes

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2021 Jun 17;207:106764. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2021.106764. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Aim: Longitudinally extensive transvers myelitis (LETM) is a rare and disabling condition in childhood. The aim of the present study was to share experiences from our center regarding the treatment features and clinical and radiologic course in our LETM patients in light of the literature data.

Material and method: The study was designed as cross-sectional and included children who followed for LETM at our pediatric neurology clinic between 2010 and 2019. ATM was diagnosed according to the diagnostic criteria report from the Transverse Myelitis Consortium Working Group. LETM was defined as the presence of spinal cord lesions spanning a length of 3 or more consecutive vertebral segments. The patients' medical records were examined in terms of demographic characteristics, presenting symptoms, history of infection prior to and during LETM, prodromal history, neurological examination, laboratory and radiological findings, clinical course, and treatment. The Barthel Index was used to assess the physical independence in activities of daily living of patients with LETM who were followed for at least one year.

Results: A total of 15 (8 girl) patients were included in the study. The patients were between 1 and 17 years of age. Presenting symptoms included inability to walk in 12 patients, incontinence in 9 patients, low back pain in 4 patients, abdominal pain in 2 patients, and inability to use the arms in 2 patients. In Barthel Index assessment of physical independence in activities of daily living, 8 patients were evaluated as completely independent, 3 patients as moderately dependent, and 2 patients as slightly dependent. When the 4 patients with motor area impairment and moderate dependency according to the Barthel Index were examined, it was noted that all of them had been admitted 4 days after the onset of symptoms and that 2 (13.3%) had cervicothoracic involvement and 2 (13.3%) had involvement of the entire cord.

Conclusion: Shorter delay from symptom onset to initiation of immunomodulatory therapy as well as effective rehabilitation resulted in favorable outcomes, with the most noticeable improvement in the areas of motor function and incontinence.

Keywords: Childhood; Longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis; Prognosis; Treatment.