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Ann Neurol. 2010 Nov;68(5):757-61. doi: 10.1002/ana.22121.

Intractable vomiting as the initial presentation of neuromyelitis optica.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


We report 12 aquaporin-4 antibody-positive patients (12% of seropositive Mayo Clinic patients identified since 2005) whose initial presenting symptom of neuromyelitis optica was intractable vomiting. The initial evaluation in 75% was gastroenterologic. Vomiting lasted a median of 4 weeks (range, 2 days-80 weeks). Optic neuritis or transverse myelitis developed after vomiting onset in 11 patients (median interval, 11 weeks; range, 1-156). At last evaluation (median, 48 months after vomiting onset), 7 patients fulfilled neuromyelitis optica diagnostic criteria. Our clinical, pathologic and neuroimaging observations suggest the aquaporin-4-rich area postrema may be a first point of attack in neuromyelitis optica.

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