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Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Oct;98(41):e17465. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000017465.

Rehabilitation of neuromyelitis optica: Two CARE-compliant case reports.

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Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Jeju National University Hospital, Jeju National University School of Medicine, Jeju, Republic of Korea.



Neuromyelitis optica (NMO), also known as Devic syndrome, is a central nervous system demyelinating disease consisting of optic neuritis and myelitis. Several studies have reported the effects of rehabilitation programs and specific exercises on outcomes in individuals with multiple sclerosis, but few have considered individuals with NMO. We present 2 cases of paraplegia due to NMO with rehabilitation outcome.


The first case corresponds to a 65-year-old woman with NMO presented with C4 incomplete American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) scale D, and the second case is a 41-year-old woman with NMO presented with C1 incomplete ASIA-C.


Two cases were confirmed by positive anti-aquaporin-4 antibody and presence of T2-weighted hyperintense lesion in spinal cord on magnetic resonance imaging.


The first patient planned for focusing on left hand fine motor training through occupational therapy by strengthening and stretching muscle using E-link (Biometrics Ltd, Newport, UK) during 4 weeks, and the second patient received strengthening lower extremity and gait training using a lower-body positive pressure treadmill (AlterG, Anti-Gravity Treadmill, Fremont, CA) during 4 weeks.


After a 4-week rehabilitation, the first patient's manual muscle testing was improved to grade 2/5 to 3+/5 in left upper limb specifically. Also, Spinal Cord Independence Measure (SCIM) was improved 79 to 88. Functional gains were made in bathing, upper-extremity dressing, and using chopsticks independently. Also, the second patient's manual muscle testing improved to grades 1 to 2/5 to 3 to 4/5 generally, and ASIA scale improved C5 incomplete ASIA-D. SCIM was improved to by allowing walking independently and increasing lower-extremity dressing and toileting ability.


An intensive, multidisciplinary rehabilitation program may lead to neurological and functional gains in patients with NMO.

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