clinical features

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The cardinal feature of multiple sclerosis is the presence of multiple neurological defects which are separated in time and space.

Clinical features of multiple sclerosis include:

  • optic neuritis:
    • usually unilateral
    • rarely bilateral

  • neurogenic bladder dysfunction:
    • urgency is common
    • incontinence and frequency may also be present

  • impotence

  • sensory deficits:
    • tingling in restricted distribution, e.g. spreading up a leg over a couple of days and resolving over a couple of weeks
    • Lhermitte's phenomenon: a sensation like electricity passing down the spine on neck flexion
    • trigeminal neuralgia with facial weakness and sensory loss

  • upper motor neurone deficit:
    • most commonly a spastic weakness of the legs

  • cerebellar damage:
    • ataxia
    • dysarthria
    • nystagmus

  • vertigo is common

  • dementia in the later stages

Last reviewed 10/2021

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