Prognostic factors for functional recovery in children with moderate to severe acute disseminated encephalomyelitis

Li Wen Chen, Ju Fang Cheng, Tung Ming Chang, Mei Hsin Hsu, Chao Ching Huang, Ying Chao Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is an immune-mediated encephalopathy with heterogeneous disease courses. However, clinical characteristics for a prognostication of functional recovery from acute episodes of ADEM remain limited. The study aims to characterize the clinical presentations and neuroimaging findings of children with poor functional recoveries from acute episodes of moderate to severe ADEM. Methods: The multicenter retrospective cohort study included children under 18 years of age who presented with moderate to severe ADEM (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] ≥ 3 at nadir) from 2002 to 2019. Children were assigned to a good recovery group (mRS ≤ 2) and a poor recovery group (mRS ≥ 3) after mean 4.3 months of follow-up. The clinical presentations and the distribution of brain lesions on magnetic resonance imaging were compared between the two groups by the t-test for numerical variables and Fisher's exact test for categorical variables. Analyses of logistic regression were conducted and significant variables in the multivariate model were examined by the receiver operating characteristic curve for the prediction of functional recovery. Results: Among the 73 children with moderate to severe ADEM, 56 (77%) had good functional recoveries and 17 (23%) showed poor functional recoveries. Children with poor recoveries had a lower rate of prodromal headache (12% vs. 39%, p = 0.04), and presented with higher proportions of dystonia (29% vs. 9%, p = 0.046), myoclonus (24% vs. 2%, p = 0.009), and cerebellar lesions on neuroimages (59% vs. 23%, p = 0.01). The multivariate analyses identified that a lack of prodromal headache (OR 0.1, 95% CI 0.005 - 0.7, p = 0.06) and the presentations of myoclonus (OR 21.6, 95% CI 1.7 – 874, p = 0.04) and cerebellar lesions (OR 4.8, 95% CI 1.3 - 19.9, p = 0.02) were associated with poor functional recoveries. These three factors could prognosticate poor outcomes in children with moderate to severe ADEM (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve 0.80, 95% CI 0.68 – 0.93, p = 0.0002). Conclusion: Nearly one-fourth of children with moderate to severe ADEM had a poor functional recovery from acute episodes, who were characterized by a lack of prodromal headache, the presentation of myoclonus, and the neuroimaging finding of cerebellar lesions. The clinical variables associated with poor functional recoveries could assist in the planning of immunotherapies during hospitalization for a better outcome in moderate to severe ADEM.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104056
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis
  • Cerebellum
  • Movement disorder
  • Outcome
  • Pediatric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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