Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis in Portugal: A Multicentre Study

Ana Sofia Correia, Luís Augusto, Joana Meireles, Joana Pinto, Ana Paula Sousa

Abstract


Introduction: Multiple sclerosis is most often diagnosed among young adults but less frequently it may present during childhood or adolescence. In Portugal, there has been only one previous single-center, pediatric multiple sclerosis study. The main objective was the evaluation of the demographic, clinical, laboratorial and neuroradiological characteristics of patients with pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis in Portugal. The secondary objectives were to compare the characteristics of childhood-onset multiple sclerosis and adolescent-onset multiple sclerosis and to characterize the treatments prescribed.
Material and Methods: We performed a retrospective observational, multicentric study. We reviewed data of all patients with multiple sclerosis younger than 18 years at the onset of their first multiple sclerosis symptoms.
Results: There were 46 patients (72% female) included with a mean age at diagnosis of 16.1 years. Six cases had childhood-onset and 40 cases had adolescence-onset. The median value of Expanded Disability Status Scale was two. Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis was most prevalent (98% of cases). In the cerebrospinal fluid study, 74% of patients had positive oligoclonal bands. Brain magnetic resonance imaging studies showed a predominant supratentorial involvement (98% of cases), whereas the cervical segment was the most frequently affected in the spinal cord. All the patients enrolled in the study underwent immunomodulatory therapy, 75% of
patients with beta-interferon. Concerning differences between the childhood and the adolescent groups, we found a greater proportion of male patients and of individuals with cerebrospinal fluid pleocytosis among the childhood-onset group.
Discussion: This study provides new data on pediatric multiple sclerosis characteristics in Portugal and our results are similar to previously reported data in other parts of the world
Conclusion: This is the first multicentric study characterizing pediatric multiple sclerosis in Portugal. The mechanisms underlying the particularities of pediatric multiple sclerosis remain largely unknown and further studies are required.

Keywords


Adolescent; Child; Multiple Sclerosis; Portugal.

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