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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2019 Apr 9. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000001771. [Epub ahead of print]

Early Recognition and Treatment of Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis in Pediatrics: A Case Series.



Our aim is to emphasize the varied presentation of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) to help health care professionals improve recognition of the disease in a timely manner, thereby allowing for the selection of an appropriate treatment regimen. Therefore, this may avoid neurocognitive consequences and the ultimate fatality of the patient.


This is a retrospective case series involving 7 cases of children presenting to the Pediatric Emergency Department of Hackensack University Medical Center who were ultimately diagnosed with ADEM.


In many of the cases, a preceding viral-like illness with nonspecific symptomatology made it difficult to accurately establish an initial diagnosis. Ultimately, the neurologic symptoms spontaneously resolved or improved with administration of high-dose steroids.


Children presenting to the emergency department with nonspecific symptoms associated with any neurological deficits should undergo further investigation using magnetic resonance imaging and lumbar puncture to rule out rare yet possibly fatal diseases such as ADEM.

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