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Neurology. 2012 Jun 12;78(24):1986-91. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318259e1b2. Epub 2012 May 11.

"Undiagnosing" multiple sclerosis: the challenge of misdiagnosis in MS.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, Fletcher Allen Heath Care, University Health Center, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, VT, USA. andrew.solomon@uvm.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To describe the clinical characteristics of encounters with patients misdiagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).

METHODS:

A cross-sectional Internet-based physician survey of MS specialists was performed.

RESULTS:

The response rate for the survey was 50.4%. Of those who responded, the majority (95%) reported having evaluated 1 or more patients who had been diagnosed with MS, but who they strongly felt did not have MS, within the last year. The majority of respondents (>90%) also reported the use of disease-modifying therapy in a proportion of these patients. Most respondents (94%) found clinical encounters with these patients equally or more challenging than giving a new diagnosis of MS. Fourteen percent of respondents reported that they did not always inform such patients of their opinion that they did not have MS.

CONCLUSIONS:

The misdiagnosis of MS is common and has significant consequences for patient care and health care system costs. Caring for a patient with a misdiagnosis of MS is challenging, and at times honest disclosure of a misdiagnosis represents an important ethical concern for neurologists. More data are needed on this patient population to improve diagnostic acumen and the care of these patients.

PMID:
22581930
PMCID:
PMC3369504
DOI:
10.1212/WNL.0b013e318259e1b2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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