Background: In the current consensus diagnostic criteria, the diagnosis of probable multiple system atrophy (MSA) is based solely on clinical findings, whereas neuroimaging findings are listed as aid for the diagnosis of possible MSA. There are overlapping phenotypes between MSA-parkinsonian type and Parkinson's disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, and dementia with Lewy bodies, and between MSA-cerebellar type and sporadic adult-onset ataxia resulting in a significant diagnostic delay and misdiagnosis of MSA during life.
Objectives: In light of an ongoing effort to revise the current consensus criteria for MSA, the Movement Disorders Society Multiple System Atrophy Study Group performed a systematic review of original articles published before August 2019.
Methods: We included articles that studied at least 10 patients with MSA as well as participants with another disorder or control group for comparison purposes. MSA was defined by neuropathological confirmation, or as clinically probable, or clinically probable plus possible according to consensus diagnostic criteria.
Results: We discuss the pitfalls and benefits of each diagnostic test and provide specific recommendations on how to evaluate patients in whom MSA is suspected.
Conclusions: This systematic review of relevant studies indicates that imaging and autonomic function tests significantly contribute to increasing the accuracy of a diagnosis of MSA.