Abstract

Background: Spinal cord lesions (SCLs) contribute to disability in multiple sclerosis (MS). There is a lack of data in Saskatchewan concerning SCLs and their association with disability levels in MS patients. The objectives of this study were to: identify clinical-demographic profiles of MS patients with respect to spinal cord magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) involvement; determine frequency of individuals with spinal cord MRI lesion(s) and; explore differences between MS patients with and without SCLs with respect to disability and disease modifying therapy (DMT) status.

Methods: A monocentric, cross-sectional, retrospective review of prospectively collected data from 532 research consented patients seen at Saskatoon MS Clinic was performed. Data was collected from a database and electronic medical records. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression were conducted using SPSS.

Results: 356 of 532 (66.9%) had SCLs. Of the 356 patients with a SCL, 180 (50.5%) had cervical cord lesions. Median Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), ambulation and pyramidal scores of SCL patients were higher than non-SCL (NSCL) patients. SCL patients with EDSS ≥ 6 were younger than NSCL patients with EDSS ≥ 6 (P = .01). SCL patients were 55% less likely to have been on continuous DMT since diagnosis than NSCL patients (adjusted OR = 0.45, 95% CI = 0.25–0.81, P = .008).

Conclusions: Prevalence and association with disability of SCLs in MS patients are comparable to existing literature. MS patients with SCLs have higher levels of disability and attain EDSS ≥6 at a younger age.

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