Devic's neuromyelitis optica: a clinicopathological study of 8 patients

Ann Neurol. 1993 Aug;34(2):162-8. doi: 10.1002/ana.410340211.


We report the clinical, imaging, and laboratory features of 8 patients with Devic's neuromyelitis optica. All patients had severe myelopathy and optic neuritis. In no patient was the brain, the brainstem, or the cerebellum affected, even after several years of disease. Various immunosuppressive treatments failed to benefit the patients, 5 of whom died. Autopsies of these 5 patients demonstrated a severe necrotizing myelopathy with thickening of blood vessel walls and no lymphocyte infiltrates. In the appropriate clinical setting, the lack of white matter abnormalities demonstrated by magnetic resonance imaging of the head facilitates the recognition of Devic's syndrome during life. Inasmuch as Devic's myelopathy is necrotizing, rather than demyelinating, the prognosis of this syndrome is poor.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain / pathology
  • Contrast Media
  • Female
  • Gadolinium DTPA
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuromyelitis Optica / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Neuromyelitis Optica / diagnosis
  • Neuromyelitis Optica / ethnology
  • Neuromyelitis Optica / pathology*
  • Optic Nerve / pathology
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Pentetic Acid
  • Spinal Cord / pathology*


  • Contrast Media
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Pentetic Acid
  • Gadolinium DTPA