Early differentiation of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMO-SD) from multiple sclerosis (MS) is of paramount importance as NMO-SD (especially relapsing variant) has more severe morbidity than MS. We describe a case of an adolescent girl who presented with repeated episodes of optic neuritis over a period of 4 years with normal brain MRI scans. She was treated initially as relapsing remitting MS, before showing clinical evidence of transverse myelitis (TM), and eventually being diagnosed as NMO-SD. Pulse intravenous methyl prednisolone along with immunosuppressive therapy led to remission of her disease. However, delay in diagnosis as NMO-SD led to visual disability in the left eye. Therefore, in young patients with recurrent optic neuritis and normal brain MRI, it may be prudent to get spinal MRI done to look for TM, even when asymptomatic. In addition, we should keep a low threshold for requesting aquaporin-4 antibody testing in these patients.
- multiple sclerosis
- spinal cord
- visual pathway
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Contributors VG: conception and design of manuscript, review of literature,analysis and interpretation of data, drafting and editing of the manuscript. SL: acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data and drafting/critically revising the report. SM: analysis and interpretation of data, critically revising the manuscript and preparation of image panels. SMD: analysis and interpretation of data and critically revising the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.