Diagnostic workup of patients with acute transverse myelitis: spectrum of clinical presentation, neuroimaging and laboratory findings

Sellner, J; Lüthi, N; Schüpbach, W M M; Gebhardt, A; Findling, O; Schroth, G; Mattle, H P; Nedeltchev, K (2009). Diagnostic workup of patients with acute transverse myelitis: spectrum of clinical presentation, neuroimaging and laboratory findings. Spinal cord, 47(4), pp. 312-7. Basingstoke: Nature Publishing Group 10.1038/sc.2008.143

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective 9-year survey. OBJECTIVES: Clinical presentation of acute myelitis syndromes is variable, and neuroimaging and laboratory findings are not specific enough to establish the diagnosis with certainty. We evaluated the spectrum clinical features and paraclinical findings encountered during diagnostic workup and aiding the diagnosis. SETTING: Department of Neurology, Inselspital Bern, Switzerland. MATERIAL: Charts and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of 63 patients discharged with the diagnosis of acute transverse myelitis. RESULTS: The diagnosis was supported by abnormal MRI and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) findings in 52 patients (82.5%) and suspected in the remaining either because of a spinal cord MRI lesion suggestive of myelitis (n=5), or abnormal CSF findings (n=4), or electrophysiological evidence of a spinal cord dysfunction (n=2). Clinical impairment was mild (ASIA D) in the majority. All patients had sensory disturbances, whereas motor deficit and autonomic dysfunction were less frequent. Neurological levels were mainly located in cervical or thoracic dermatomes. Spinal cord lesions were visualized by MRI in 90.4% of the patients and distributed either in the cervical or thoracic cord, or both. Multiple lesions were present in more than half of the patients, and lateral, centromedullary and posterior locations were most common. A high percentage of multiple sclerosis (MS)-typical brain lesions and CSF findings suggested a substantial number of MS-related myelitis in our cohort. CONCLUSION: The diagnostic workup of acute myelitis discloses a broad spectrum of CSF or MRI findings, and may be associated with diagnostic uncertainty due to lack of specific CSF or MRI features, or pathological findings.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology

UniBE Contributor:

Gebhardt, Andreas; Findling, Oliver; Schroth, Gerhard and Mattle, Heinrich






Nature Publishing Group




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:01

Last Modified:

04 May 2014 23:18

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:



https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/26690 (FactScience: 85660)

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback