Document Detail

Visual evoked potentials in early diagnosis of demyelinating diseases--a case report of Devic's disease.
Jump to Full Text
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23018359     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Devic's disease, also known as neuromyelinitis optica (NMO), is a severe, rare demyelinating disorder, previously considered to be a form of multiple sclerosis (MS). The aim of this study was to present the case report of 21-year-old woman with a very early diagnosis of Devic's disease, established following electrophysiological testing.
CASE REPORT: A 21-year-old woman was referred to Warsaw Medical University, Department of Ophthalmology, with subjective visual impairment. The patient underwent a full clinical examination, colour vision and Goldmann visual field testing, fluorescein angiography, OCT, multifocal ERG, and visual evoked potentials (VEPs).
CONCLUSIONS: Visual evoked potentials are a very useful diagnostic tool in optic nerve neuropathies. In our patient, the electrophysiological testing allowed us to establish a proper diagnosis very early, before typical clinical signs of Devic's disease.
Ewa Langwińska-Wośko; Kamil Szulborski; Karina Broniek-Kowalik
Related Documents :
24562719 - Interchangeability of 28-joint disease activity scores using the erythrocyte sedimentat...
24840969 - Postprocedural management of patients undergoing endovascular therapy for acute and chr...
787009 - Comparison of api and minitek to center for disease control methods for the biochemical...
25085669 - The skin microbiome: potential for novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to cutan...
21551189 - Ibd and arthropathies: a practical approach to its diagnosis and management.
24965139 - The effectiveness of permethrin-treated deer stations for control of the lyme disease v...
9117139 - What can we learn about dense low density lipoprotein and lipoprotein particles from cl...
9203029 - New perspective on behçet's disease.
2522899 - Ivf-et in women with refractory polycystic ovarian disease.
Publication Detail:
Type:  Case Reports; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Medical science monitor : international medical journal of experimental and clinical research     Volume:  18     ISSN:  1643-3750     ISO Abbreviation:  Med. Sci. Monit.     Publication Date:  2012 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-09-28     Completed Date:  2013-02-19     Revised Date:  2013-07-11    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9609063     Medline TA:  Med Sci Monit     Country:  Poland    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  CS82-4     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Ophthalmology, Warsaw Medical University, Warsaw, Poland.
Export Citation:
APA/MLA Format     Download EndNote     Download BibTex
MeSH Terms
Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology*
Neuromyelitis Optica / diagnosis*,  physiopathology*
Young Adult

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

Full Text
Journal Information
Journal ID (nlm-ta): Med Sci Monit
Journal ID (iso-abbrev): Med. Sci. Monit
Journal ID (publisher-id): Medical Science Monitor
ISSN: 1234-1010
ISSN: 1643-3750
Publisher: International Scientific Literature, Inc.
Article Information
Download PDF
© Med Sci Monit, 2012
Received Day: 20 Month: 3 Year: 2012
Accepted Day: 24 Month: 4 Year: 2012
collection publication date: Year: 2012
Electronic publication date: Day: 01 Month: 10 Year: 2012
Volume: 18 Issue: 10
First Page: CS82 Last Page: CS84
PubMed Id: 23018359
ID: 3560553
Publisher Id: 883473

Visual evoked potentials in early diagnosis of demyelinating diseases – a case report of Devic’s disease
Ewa Langwińska-WośkoABDEF
Kamil SzulborskiABCDEF
Karina Broniek-KowalikABCDEF
Department of Ophthalmology, Warsaw Medical University, Warsaw, Poland
Correspondence: Kamil Szulborski, Ophthalmology Department, Warsaw Medical University, Sierakowskiego 13 St., 03-709 Warsaw, Poland, e-mail:
AStudy Design
BData Collection
CStatistical Analysis
DData Interpretation
EManuscript Preparation
FLiterature Search
GFunds Collection


Devic’s disease, or neuromyelitis optica (NMO), is an uncommon demyelinating syndrome of the central nervous system, characterized by bilateral optic neuritis and transverse acute myelitis, with no other neurological involvement. The first description of the disease was provided by Eugene Devic at the end of the 19th century in Lyon, France. NMO was previously considered to be a subtype of multiple sclerosis [1,2]. Devic’s disease is now considered as an auto-immune channelopathy [3]. Most NMO patients produce auto-antibodies against aquaporin-4 (AQP-4), also known as NMO-IgG. AQP-4 is a water channel expressed on astrocytes and in brain blood vessels [46]. In 2006, Wingerchuk proposed revised diagnostic criteria for NMO: 2 major criteria – optic neuritis and transverse myelitis, and at least 2 of 3 supportive criteria – MRI lesions extending over 3 vertebral segments, onset brain MRI not meeting diagnostic criteria for multiple sclerosis, and NMO-IgG seropositive status [7].

Devic’s disease most frequently affects non-Caucasian women who are older than those with multiple sclerosis. In comparison to MS, Devic’s disease also leads to more severe neurological impairment [1,810].

Case Report

A 21-year-old woman presented with non-specific ocular phenomena, referred as a subjective visual impairment and “blurry” vision for 3 weeks. No other complaints were reported, and the family history concerning general and ocular diseases was negative. The patient had previously been examined in 2 other ophthalmic departments and no abnormalities were found, so the patient was classified as having psychosomatic disturbances and a psychological consultation was recommended.

The patient’s best corrected visual acuity was 6/6 in both eyes on Snellen charts.

Colour vision testing using the Ishihara tables was normal.

Examinations of pupillary reflexes, anterior segment, the eye fundus and the visual field (full field 120, Humphrey) were normal. A fluorescein angiography and macular OCT (Cirrus, Zeiss) were also non-contributory.

These symptoms were still unclear, so the patient underwent electrophysiological testing by using the RetiScan RetiPort system (Roland Consult).

A multifocal ERG was performed to assess retinal function. The mfERG results were normal. Pattern visual evoked responses (PVER) were performed according to ISCEV standards and compared with normal values. The latencies of P100 wave was 132 ms and 127 ms in right and left eye, respectively, so they were prolonged over 20% in both eyes in comparison to normal values. The morphology of the waves was also abnormal (Figure 1). On the basis of PVER, the suspicion of a demyelinating process was established.

The brain MRI with contrast revealed 3 lesions not meeting diagnostic criteria for multiple sclerosis. The orbital MRI with contrast revealed no lesions. A spinal cord MRI showed 1 lesion on the C3/C4 level.

The patient was referred to the neurology ward and a suspicion of Devic’s disease was established. Within 6 weeks after first symptoms (three weeks after ophthalmic examination) the patient presented a weakening of the lower limbs and developed clinical transverse myelitis. The patient was treated by IV steroids. The spinal cord MRI revealed lesions extending over 3 vertebral segments. The diagnosis of Devic’s syndrome was established, which was later confirmed by NMO-IgG seropositive status.

In 4 years’ observation, the visual function remains quite good (6/9 in both eyes), but urinary incontinence and walking disorders significantly worsen the 25-year-old patient’s quality of life.


Devic’s disease is considered to be an acute and devastating disease. It was reported that 55.8% of NMO patients need support to walk within 5 years from diagnosis, mortality rate ranges from 2.9% to 25%, and about 50% of patients have severe visual deficits within 5 years from diagnosis [1,811]. Although it is very rare disease, its early diagnosis may allow administering proper treatment (IV steroids, plasmapheresis, Imuran, rituximab), thus preventing mortality.

Most papers describe full clinical manifestation of Devic’s disease. Our paper presents a case report of very early NMO diagnosis. In our patient, non-specific ocular phenomena preceded the neurological manifestations. Although the ophthalmologic examination and tests were normal, visual evoked potentials pointed to a demyelinating process. Further diagnostic procedures (brain and spinal cord MRI, neurological consultation) allowed establishing a proper diagnosis.


We would like to emphasize that non-specific ocular symptoms or subjective visual impairment in young patients in their 20s or 30s, with full visual acuity, normal ophthalmic and accessory investigation results, should be examined by visual evoked potentials testing to exclude demyelination. In these cases, it is essential to exclude a neuromyelitis optica, a disease with a worse prognosis than multiple sclerosis.



The authors had no financial or proprietary interest in any product, material or method mentioned.

fn9-medscimonit-18-10-cs82Source of support: Departmental sources

1. Wingerchuk DM,Hogancamp WF,O’Brien PC,Weinshenker BG. The clinical course of neuromyelitis optica (Devic’s syndrome)NeurologyYear: 19995311071410496275
2. Rivera JF,Kurtzke JF,Booth VJA,Corona T. Characteristics of Devic’s disease (neuromyelitis optica) in MexicoJ NeurolYear: 20082557101518283393
3. Fazio R,Radaelli M,Furla R. Neuromyelitis optica: Concepts in evolutionJ NeuroimmunolYear: 2011231100421067820
4. Lennon VA,Kryzer TJ,Pittock SJ,et al. IgG marker of optic-spinal multiple sclerosis binds to the aquaporin-4 water channelJ Exp MedYear: 20052024737716087714
5. Lennon VA,Wingerchuk DM,Kryzer TJ,et al. A serum autoantibody marker of neuromyelitis optica: distinction from multiple sclerosisLancetYear: 200436421061215589308
6. Waters P,Vincent A. Detection of anti-aquaporin-4 antibodies in neuromyelitis optica: current status of the assaysThe International MS JournalYear: 20081599105
7. Wingerchuk DM,Lennon VA,Pittock SS,et al. Revised diagnostic criteria for neuromyelitis opticaNeurologyYear: 20066614858916717206
8. Bergamaschi R,Ghezzi A. Devic’s neuromyelitis optica: clinical features and prognostic factorsNeurological SciencesYear: 20042536467
9. Ghezzi A,Bergamaschi R,Martinelli V,et al. Clinical characteristics, course and prognosis of relapsing Devic’s neuromyelitis opticaJ NeurolYear: 2004251475214999489
10. Sellner J,Boggild M,Clanet M,et al. EFNS guidelines on diagnosis and management of neuromyelitis opticaEur J NeurolYear: 20101710193220528913
11. Mandler RN,Davis LE,Jeffrey DR,Kornfeld M. Devic’s neuromyelitis optica: a clinopathological study of 8 patientsAnn NeurolYear: 199334162688338340

Article Categories:
  • Case Study

Keywords: visual evoked potentials, demyelination, Devic’s disease, neuromyelitis optica.

Previous Document:  Chondrosarcoma from the sternum: reconstruction with titanium mesh and a transverse rectus abdominis...
Next Document:  A cry for help, do not omit the signs. Dermatitis artefacta--psychiatric problems in dermatological ...