OBJECTIVES: We compared the clinical, laboratory, and radiological features of different subgroups of acute transverse myelitis (ATM) diagnosed according to the criteria established by the Transverse Myelitis Consortium Working Group (TMCWG) as well as of non-inflammatory acute transverse myelopathies (NIATM) to identify possible short- and long-term prognostic factors.
METHODS: A multicenter and retrospective study comprising 110 patients with ATM and 15 NIATM admitted to five Italian neurological units between January 2010 and December 2014 was carried out.
RESULTS: A significantly higher frequency of isolated sensory disturbances at onset in ATM than in NIATM patients (chi-square = 14. 7; P = 0.005) and a significantly higher frequency of motor symptoms in NIATM than ATM (chi-square = 12.4; P = 0.014) was found. ATM patients with high disability at discharge had more motor-sensory symptoms without (OR = 3.87; P = 0.04) and with sphincter dysfunction at onset (OR = 7.4; P = 0.0009) compared to those with low disability. Higher age (OR = 1.08; P = 0.001) and motor-sensory-sphincter involvement at onset (OR = 9.52; P = 0.002) were significantly associated with a high disability score at discharge and after a median 1-year follow-up.
CONCLUSIONS: The diagnosis of ATM may prevail respect to that of NIATM when a sensory symptomatology at onset occurs. In ATM, patients older and with motor-sensory involvement with or without sphincter impairment at admission could experience a major risk of poor prognosis both at discharge and at longer time requiring a timely and more appropriate treatment.