Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis in Portugal: A Multicentre Study

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


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.


Adolescent; Child; Multiple Sclerosis; Portugal.

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