739070 tn?1338603402

Update on McDonald Criteria

Update on Multiple Sclerosis Diagnostic Criteria

New criteria are aimed at simplifying magnetic resonance imaging requirements in assessment of clinically isolated syndromes.

This update of the 2005 McDonald criteria for diagnosing multiple sclerosis (MS) is an effort to simplify and improve on the previous criteria (Ann Neurol 2005; 58:840) in light of recent investigations. The authoring panel stresses that these criteria should be used only for assessing a classic demyelinating event. The new criteria are as follows:

    * Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can now demonstrate dissemination in space (DIS) by as few as two lesions, with ≥1 T2 lesions in ≥2 typical MS locations (juxtacortical, periventricular, infratentorial, spinal cord) — a simpler algorithm than was previously used.
    * Dissemination in time (DIT) can now be satisfied by one of the following two criteria:

— A new T2 lesion on a second MRI scan obtained at least 30 days after a first scan (simplified from the prior need to reestablish baseline with a new MRI scan 30 days after the clinical event, which would amount to three scans to document a new lesion).

— Co-occurrence of ≥2 asymptomatic T2 lesions on the very first MRI scan, at least one of which enhances with gadolinium (Gd) and at least one of which does not enhance.

    * A diagnosis of primary progressive MS (PPMS) requires 1 year of disease progression plus two of the following: a positive brain MRI, ≥2 T2 spinal cord lesions, oligoclonal bands and/or elevated immunoglobulin G index in the cerebrospinal fluid.
    * Neuromyelitis optica should be considered with transverse myelitis extending beyond three spinal segments, bilateral or severe optic neuritis, or intractable hiccups or nausea/vomiting accompanied by a medullary lesion on MRI.

Comment: This updated set of evidence-based criteria will simplify entry of patients into MS clinical studies. Several caveats about the underlying evidence must be stressed. These criteria were derived in patients who presented with very typical demyelinating syndromes (e.g., optic nerve, brainstem, and spinal cord localizations), had a mean age of 31 to 32, were Western European, and were scanned with MRI magnetic field strengths ≤1.5 T. The dating of lesions on a single scan with Gd for DIT is an interesting development, as Gd sensitivity can be influenced by several variables (e.g., dose, timing, agent, field strength, T1 sequence).

In clinical practice, these criteria are not appropriate for patients with nonspecific neurological symptoms and signs and an abnormal MRI scan. Caution is also advisable for patients older than 50 or younger than 20. As always, other diseases must be excluded; careful history and exam are needed to identify "red flags" against MS diagnosis. In clinical practice, for young adults who present with very clear demyelinating syndromes, these criteria will aid initial and follow-up assessments for MS risk stratification, diagnosis, and treatment discussions.

— Robert T. Naismith, MD

Published in Journal Watch Neurology January 25, 2011

Polman CH et al. Diagnostic criteria for multiple sclerosis: 2010 revisions to the "McDonald criteria." Ann Neurol 2011 Jan 11; [e-pub ahead of print]. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.22366)

4 Responses
Sort by: Helpful Oldest Newest
Avatar universal
This appears to be a good news/bad news scenario.

So many of those here don't fit into the classic molds. That's what makes these sentences frustratring

In clinical practice, these criteria are not appropriate for patients with nonspecific neurological symptoms and signs and an abnormal MRI scan. Caution is also advisable for patients older than 50 or younger than 20.


When will they step outside the box?

Helpful - 0
751951 tn?1406632863
Have to agree with Essie.  There's that old age caveat again, too.  How many dx here don't fit in this box?
Helpful - 0
987762 tn?1331027953
Does that mean my time is running out, i am technically 47 this year though i dont look or feel that old yet, well i do first thing in the morning but that doesnt count right? LOL!

I cant work out if this new criteria would mean i'd be dx already or not, i've only had one mri and that didn't have a lesion in the corpus callosum (or what ever the CC really is called) but enough lesions in the white matter and deep white matter to label it 'chronic', definetely clinical sx and history etc What i'm trying to do is work out if this new and supposedly improved version would get me dx or leave me in the same wonky boat i'm currently in., any idea?

ooooh i think i see the edge of the fish bowl!

Helpful - 0
738075 tn?1330575844
The age issue is a bugaboo with me, too.  I had symptoms for some 20 years that were so mild I blew them off.  It wasn't until I hit 47 that I got really curious during an apparent flair, and age 50 before I started seeking answers.  Everybody uses the "50" as my landmark.

I also see this as more black and white thinking in the number of lesions department.  There are some folks out there who don't fit the mold.
Helpful - 0
Have an Answer?

You are reading content posted in the Multiple Sclerosis Community

Top Neurology Answerers
987762 tn?1331027953
5265383 tn?1483808356
1756321 tn?1547095325
Queensland, Australia
1780921 tn?1499301793
Queen Creek, AZ
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Find out how beta-blocker eye drops show promising results for acute migraine relief.
In this special Missouri Medicine report, doctors examine advances in diagnosis and treatment of this devastating and costly neurodegenerative disease.
Here are 12 simple – and fun! – ways to boost your brainpower.
Discover some of the causes of dizziness and how to treat it.
Discover the common causes of headaches and how to treat headache pain.
Two of the largest studies on Alzheimer’s have yielded new clues about the disease