Approach to acute or subacute myelopathy

Improved understanding of the differential diagnosis and improved investigative techniques, particularly neuroimaging and serologic testing, have facilitated the diagnosis of patients with acute and subacute myelopathy and reduced the proportion of patients who are labeled as having “idiopathic transverse myelitis.” Additionally, these advances have identified subgroups of patients in whom progression of deficit or future relapses are anticipated, allowing intervention and prophylaxis as appropriate. However, early management remains empiric and consists of high-dose corticosteroids for most patients. In the event of an inadequate response to corticosteroids or a subsequent atypical course, further investigations to detect diagnoses other than “transverse myelitis” should be considered and additional treatments, such as plasmapheresis, may be appropriate. Individualized diagnosis and treatment is more feasible now than in the past (Full text).   

Neurology November 1, 2010 vol. 75 no. 18 Supplement 1 S2-S8

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