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Background and Purpose: The objective of this study was to determine the frequencies of different clinical presentations and the phenotypic spectrum of multiple sclerosis (MS).
Methods: This cross-sectional study was performed in the Neurology Department of King Fahd Hospital of University Alkhobar in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Data of 190 MS patients who fulfilled the McDonald criteria were retrieved from medical records and analyzed.
Results: The age at disease onset was 26.27±8.2 years (mean±SD) and disease duration was 6.38±5.10 years. The male-to-female ratio was 1:1.6. Optic neuritis and myelitis were the most-frequent first clinical presentations. Sensory (73.1%), motor (61%), and visual (58.4%) symptoms were the most-frequent established clinical symptoms. Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) was present in 75% of the cases. Supratentorial T2-weighted white-matter lesions and deep-gray-matter or juxtacortical lesions were the most-frequent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) lesions, comprising 28% and 23.7% of all MRI lesions observed in 93.6% and 79.4% of the cases, respectively. The scores on the Expanded Disability Status Scale were within the range of 1.0-5.5 in 82.1% of the patients. There were 145 (76.3%) patients taking interferon β therapy.
Conclusions: MS presenting in the hospital setting is more common in KSA than reported previously, and the number of diagnosed cases in increasing. It is therefore an emerging and disabling neurological illness in KSA with clinical characteristics not dissimilar to those in other middle eastern countries. A decrease in the frequency of patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) indicates either that more new cases of RRMS are being diagnosed or that adequate treatments of RRMS are preventing the evolution to SPMS. Further larger and population-wide epidemiological and clinical studies with the long-term follow-up of MS patients are required to better assess the clinical spectrum of MS in KSA.
(Copyright © 2018 Korean Neurological Association.)
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