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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2013 Dec;34(12):2366-72. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A3661. Epub 2013 Jul 18.

No evidence for impairment of venous hemodynamics in children or young adults with pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis.

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  • 1Departments of Diagnostic Imaging.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency is a postulated etiologic factor for multiple sclerosis, but the higher frequency with longer disease duration and progressive disability suggests that chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency is secondary to chronic disease. We evaluated the presence of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency in pediatric-onset MS.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Twenty-six pediatric patients with MS (18 years of age or younger), 26 age-matched healthy controls, and 13 young adults with pediatric-onset MS underwent sonography of the internal jugular, vertebral, and deep cerebral veins. Five venous hemodynamic criteria were assessed, with 2 criteria required for chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency. MR imaging studies, performed in the pediatric patients with MS and healthy control groups, included intracranial 2D time-of-flight MR venography and velocity-sensitive phase-contrast sequences. Contrast-enhanced brain MR images were obtained in pediatric patients with MS to further evaluate venous patency. We used paired t tests, Wilcoxon matched pairs, McNemar tests, and exact conditional logistic regression to estimate the association of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency with MS.

RESULTS:

Fifty participants (73.5%) had normal ultrasound findings, 15 (23.1%) met 1 venous hemodynamic criterion, and 2 pediatric patients with MS and 1 young adult with pediatric-onset MS met chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency criteria. Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency was not associated with MS (odds ratio, 2.41; 95% CI, 0.19-infinity). Demographic and disease characteristics did not differ between the patients with MS meeting chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency criteria (n = 3) and those who did not (n = 36; all, P > .05). The mean (SD) MR imaging measures of intracerebral flow did not differ between the 2 pediatric patients with MS meeting chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency criteria (0.85 ± 0.11) and healthy controls (0.87 ± 0.16, P = .50); no child demonstrated venous obstruction.

CONCLUSIONS:

Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency is rarely observed in children or young adults with pediatric-onset MS. Venous anatomy and flow rates indicate that venous outflow is intact in pediatric patients with MS. Our findings argue against chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency as a component of MS etiology.

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