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Transverse Myelitis

Abstract

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NORD is very grateful to D. Joanne Lynn, MD, The Ohio State University, Charles Levy, MD, North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health Service, Adam Kaplin, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Benjamin Greenberg, MD, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Carlos Pardo, MD Johns Hopkins University of School of Medicine and Douglas Kerr, MD, PhD, Biogen-Idec for assistance in the preparation of this report. This report was adapted from an article from The Transverse Myelitis Association and Drs. Lynn, Levy, Kaplin, Greenberg, Pardo and Kerr serve on their Medical and Scientific Council.

Synonyms of Transverse Myelitis

  • No synonyms found.

Disorder Subdivisions

  • Ascending Myelitis
  • Brown-Sequard Syndrome
  • Concussion Myelitis
  • Foix-Alajouanine Myelitis
  • Funicular Myelitis
  • Subacute Necrotizing Myelitis
  • Systemic Myelitis

General Discussion

Summary
Transverse myelitis (TM) is a rare inflammatory disease causing injury to the spinal cord with varying degrees of weakness, sensory alterations, and autonomic dysfunction (the part of the nervous system that controls involuntary activity, such as the heart, breathing, the digestive system, and reflexes).

Introduction
The first cases of acute myelitis were described in 1882 and were attributed to vascular lesions and acute inflammatory events. In England between 1922 and 1923 more than 200 postvaccinial cases were noted as complications of the smallpox and rabies vaccines. Later reports revealed that TM was post-infectious in nature, and agents including measles, rubella and mycoplasma were directly isolated from patient’s spinal fluid. The term "acute transverse myelitis" was first used by an English neurologist in 1948 to describe a case of rapidly progressive paraparesis with a thoracic sensory level, occurring as a postinfectious complication of pneumonia. The Transverse Myelitis Consortium Working Group delineated diagnostic criteria for disease-associated TM and idiopathic TM along with a framework to differentiate TM from non-inflammatory myelopathies in 2002.

Organizations related to Transverse Myelitis

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