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Spinal cord MRI in clinically isolated optic neuritis


Background/methods: One hundred and fifteen patients with clinically isolated optic neuritis underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain and spinal cord within 3 months of the onset of symptoms.

Results: Eighty one (70%) patients had brain lesions and 31 (27%) had cord lesions. Cord lesions were seen in 12% with a normal brain MRI, 21% with between one and eight brain lesions, and 45% with nine or more brain lesions. When the new diagnostic criteria for MS were applied, MRI cord imaging used for evidence of dissemination in time and space allowed a diagnosis of MS in only one additional asymptomatic patient at 1 year, two additional asymptomatic patients at 3 years.

Conclusions: Using existing criteria, spinal cord imaging rarely contributes to the diagnosis in patients with clinically isolated optic neuritis.

  • Keywords: MRI
  • optic neuritis
  • spinal cord
  • FSE, fast spin echo
  • MRI, magnetic resonance imaging
  • MS, multiple sclerosis
  • PD, proton density
  • TE, effective time
  • TR, repetition time

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