Clinical Review Article criteria MS Trends

Updated criteria for diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis | ACNR

Updated criteria for diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis | ACNR

Updated criteria for diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis

Posted in Medical Assessment Article on 18th Jan 2019

Peter Brex MB BS, MD, FRCP is a Advisor Neurologist at King’s School Hospital NHS Basis Belief. He educated in London and was appointed to his present position in 2005. He specialises in a number of sclerosis, with a specific curiosity in early prognostic markers and the administration of MS throughout being pregnant.



Victoria Williams has been a Marketing consultant Neurologist since 2009. She is an MS specialist at Man’s and St Thomas’ and King’s School Hospitals NHS Trusts.




Correspondence to: PA Brex, Division of Neurology, King’s School Hospital NHS Belief, Denmark Hill, SE5 9RS.
Battle of curiosity assertion: Dr Brex and Dr Williams have between them acquired honoraria from Biogen, MedDay pharmacuticals, Merck, Roche, Sanofi-Genzyme & Teva.
Provenance and peer assessment: Submitted and externally reviewed.
Date submitted: 1/four/18
Date submitted after peer evaluate: four/10/18
Acceptance date: 11/10/18
To quote: Brex P, Williams V. ACNR 2018;18(2):14-16.
Revealed on-line: 18/01/19

Key take residence messages

  • The diagnostic criteria for MS have been just lately up to date
  • These criteria ought to solely be utilized to populations in whom MS is widespread and sufferers who current with typical signs for which no higher rationalization might be discovered
  •  All sufferers with suspected MS ought to have an MRI mind scan; spinal twine imaging just isn’t obligatory
  • Unmatched oligoclonal bands within the CSF can be utilized in its place for demonstrating dissemination in time, permitting an earlier analysis than was beforehand attainable


The fourth replace of the McDonald criteria allows an earlier analysis of MS in individuals presenting with typical signs. It broadens MRI proof for dissemination in area to incorporate symptomatic and cortical lesions and permits dissemination in time to be demonstrated by unmatched oligoclonal bands within the CSF in addition to by new or enhancing MRI lesions. To keep away from misdiagnosis, it must be used with warning in sufferers with atypical signs or in populations by which MS is rare.

The historical past of diagnostic criteria for a number of sclerosis (MS)

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) turned extensively recognised after Jean-Martin Charcot (1825 – 1893) (Determine 1a) described it in his lectures within the late 18th century. Previous to this sufferers with MS would sometimes have been described as having a palsy, paralysis or paraplegia, with out a lot understanding as to the trigger.

In Might 1960, a symposium on the ‘Evaluation of Drug Therapy in Neurologic and Sensory Diseases’ held on the College of Wisconsin concluded that criteria for MS have been required to offer a standard floor of terminology amongst investigators to facilitate therapeutic trials.

A committee of specialists chaired by George Schumacher (1912 – 2008) was shaped and revealed the Schumacher criteria in 1965.1   This enabled a analysis of particular MS in

  •   a sometimes aged particular person (outlined as between 10 and 50 years)
  • with a suitable historical past – assaults lasting a minimum of 24 hours, separated by at the very least a month; or within the case of progressive MS, a sluggish or step-wise development of incapacity over a interval of at the very least six months
  • and goal medical proof of lesions in two or extra distinct websites within the white matter of the central nervous system
  • with no extra passable rationalization.

The Schumacher criteria have been purely medical, though investigations have been inspired (blood, urine, chest X-ray, CSF evaluation) to exclude various circumstances.

Over the subsequent few years modifications to the Schumacher criteria have been published2,three however in 1983 the Schumacher criteria have been changed by criteria developed by a committee chaired by Charles Poser (1923 – 2010).four  The Poser criteria included laboratory and medical exams developed within the earlier decade to help the analysis with ‘paraclinical evidence’ of lesions. This included evoked potentials, computed tomography (CT) or NMR scans (as MRI was recognized in its early days), in addition to induced hyperthermia (the recent tub check) and skilled urological evaluation. The suitable age of onset was prolonged to 10 to 59 years of age. The criteria emphasised that signs must be in line with MS and the analysis made by a ‘competent neurologist’.

The criteria divided sufferers into two teams – ‘Definite’ and ‘Probable’ MS – every with two sub-groups – ‘Clinical’ and ‘Laboratory-supported’; the latter referring to the presence of oligoclonal bands or raised IgG within the CSF. Clinically Particular MS turned the requirement for entry into therapeutic trials of the time and required two assaults and goal medical proof of two lesions; or two assaults with goal proof of 1 lesion and paraclinical proof of one other separate lesion. Sure historic signs might be substituted for medical proof in some situations, e.g. Lhermitte’s phenomenon within the absence of cervical spondylosis; painful optic neuritis in an beneath 50-year-old, trigeminal neuralgia in an beneath 40-year-old.

In 2001, Poser’s criteria have been changed by McDonald’s criteria,5 developed by the Worldwide Panel on MS Diagnostics, chaired at their first assembly by Ian McDonald (1933 – 2006) (Determine 1b, under proper).

These criteria positioned a a lot larger emphasis on using MRI lesions (areas of T2 hyperintensity a minimum of 3mm in cross-section) to exhibit dissemination of illness in area and time. These criteria enabled a analysis of MS after a single medical assault which allowed medical trials to incorporate sufferers at a a lot earlier stage than had beforehand been attainable. Progressive MS, which had not been addressed by the Poser criteria, was outlined in McDonald’s criteria and required the presence of oligoclonal bands or raised IgG index within the CSF supported by typical MRI findings +/- delayed visible evoked potentials (VEPs) and dissemination in time demonstrated both by development of incapacity over a yr or new MRI lesions.

The McDonald panel have subsequently met roughly each 5-years to refine and simplify the criteria.6,7  The variety of lesions required to offer proof of dissemination in area have been decreased and proof of dissemination of illness in time could also be obtained from a single MRI with each enhancing and non-enhancing lesions. The criteria for progressive MS have been modified in order that insidious neurological development turned the primary requirement and oligoclonal bands or elevated IgG index within the CSF have been not obligatory if there have been typical MRI findings within the mind and spinal twine. The time period ‘possible MS’ was added for individuals with a typical clinically remoted syndrome who didn’t meet the criteria.

The 2017 revisions to the McDonald criteria

Following conferences in November 2016 and Might 2017 the fourth model of the McDonald criteria was revealed in Lancet Neurology in January 2018.eight This panel was expanded to incorporate further experience in medical, imaging and laboratory features of MS analysis, and to deal with criticisms that they have been solely relevant to European and North American populations, included a broader illustration from totally different geographical areas. Modifications to the diagnostic criteria have been evidence-based and never simply based mostly on skilled opinion.

Probably the most vital change is the revitalisation of the position of CSF evaluation. The discovering of two or extra oligoclonal bands was discovered to be extra dependable than a raised IgG index and their presence has been proven to have excessive predictive worth for conversion from clinically remoted syndromes to MS. The panel agreed the presence of unmatched oligoclonal bands within the CSF might affirm dissemination in time instead of medical or MRI proof. The panel additionally confused the significance of CSF in excluding MS mimics.

The MRI criteria for dissemination in area have additionally been modified. Cortical lesions can now be counted instead of juxtacortical ones when assessing for lesions in one of many 4 typical websites (the others websites are periventricular, brainstem or spinal twine lesion). Nevertheless, cortical lesions are usually not nicely appreciated on presently obtainable medical MRI scans carried out outdoors of analysis and so this won’t have an amazing impression on most clinicians.  The panel didn’t improve the variety of periventricular lesions required, as was really helpful in a 2016 MAGNIMS MRI criteria paper,9 however prompt this can be advisable in older sufferers and people at excessive danger of getting white matter lesions, e.g. vascular danger elements, migraine. They did permit for the inclusion of symptomatic lesions when assessing for radiological proof of dissemination in area – an exception being excessive sign within the optic nerves in individuals with optic neuritis.

As with the criteria which have predated it, the McDonald criteria do allow MS to be recognized with out the necessity for any supporting investigations, however the panel advisable all sufferers in whom a analysis of MS was being thought-about ought to have an MRI mind. An MRI of the twine is just not obligatory however advisable when indicators localise to the twine, in progressive MS and in populations in whom MS is extra uncommon.

While the sensitivity and specificity of the McDonald MRI criteria have been proven to be excessive when utilized to sufferers with sometimes clinically remoted syndromes suggestive of MS,10 there have been a variety of papers revealed demonstrating that they over-diagnose MS in a ‘real world’ setting.11-13 The McDonald criteria weren’t developed to diagnose MS in sufferers with atypical signs or to differentiate it from different circumstances which may trigger excessive sign within the white matter lesions on MRI, e.g. acute disseminated encephalitis (ADEM), neuromyelitis optica spectrum issues (NMOSD), vascular illness, migraine and even regular ageing. Warning must be exercised in individuals outdoors the standard presenting age for MS (though MS can current in childhood and in people over 60 years) and in ethnic teams in whom MS is rare. The advantages of professional neuro-radiological enter can’t be over-emphasised.

A analysis of a number of sclerosis ought to by no means be made based mostly on MRI appearances alone, though some sufferers with these so-called Radiologically Remoted Syndromes will develop typical signs of MS in time14 and should require counselling and follow-up.

Software of the 2017 revised McDonald criteria in sufferers with typical clinically remoted syndromes adopted up for 5 years has been demonstrated to have larger sensitivity however much less specificity for a second assault than the 2010 criteria with comparable accuracy. 15 This implies it should diagnose extra sufferers with much less lively MS.

In conclusion, the McDonald Criteria are useful in offering an correct and earlier analysis of MS in sufferers following a single assault with typical signs, nevertheless when the presentation is atypical, or in populations through which MS is rare, investigation must be prolonged past MRI, with a low threshold for additional investigation, notably examination of the CSF.


  1. Schumacher GA, Beebe G, Kibler RF, Kurland LT, Kurtzke JF, Mcdowell F, et al. Issues Of Experimental Trials Of Remedy In Multiple Sclerosis: Report By The Panel On The Analysis Of Experimental Trials Of Remedy In Multiple Sclerosis. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1965 Mar 31;122:552–68.
  2. Rose AS, Ellison GW, Myers LW, TOURTELLOTTE WW. Criteria for the medical analysis of a number of sclerosis. Neurology. 1976 Jun;26(6 PT 2):20–2.
  3. McDonald WI, HALLIDAY AM. Analysis and classification of a number of sclerosis. Br Med Bull. 1977 Jan;33(1):four–9.
  4. Poser CM, Paty DW, Scheinberg L, McDonald WI, Davis FA, Ebers GC, et al. New diagnostic criteria for a number of sclerosis: tips for analysis protocols. Ann Neurol. Wiley Subscription Providers, Inc., A Wiley Firm; 1983 Mar;13(three):227–31.
  5. McDonald WI, Compston A, Edan G, Goodkin D, Hartung H-P, Lublin FD, et al. Beneficial diagnostic criteria for a number of sclerosis: tips from the Worldwide Panel on the analysis of a number of sclerosis. Vol. 50, Annals of neurology. 2001. pp. 121–7.
  6. Polman CH, Reingold S, Edan G, Filippi M, Hartung H-P, Kappos L, et al. Diagnostic criteria for a number of sclerosis: 2005 revisions to the “McDonald Criteria”. Ann Neurol. Wiley Subscription Providers, Inc., A Wiley Firm; 2005 Dec;58(6):840–6.
  7. Polman CH, Reingold S, Banwell B, Clanet M, Cohen J, Filippi M, et al. Diagnostic criteria for a number of sclerosis: 2010 revisions to the McDonald criteria. Ann Neurol. 2011 Feb;69(2):292–302.
  8. Thompson AJ, Banwell BL, Barkhof F, Carroll WM, Coetzee T, Comi G, et al. Analysis of a number of sclerosis: 2017 revisions of the McDonald criteria. Lancet Neurol. 2017 Dec 21;17(2):162–73.
  9. Filippi M, Rocca MA, Ciccarelli O, De Stefano N, Evangelou N, Kappos L, et al. MRI criteria for the analysis of a number of sclerosis: MAGNIMS consensus tips. Lancet Neurol. Elsevier; 2016 Jan 25;zero(zero):292–303.
  10. Brownlee WJ, Swanton JK, Altmann DR, Ciccarelli O, Miller DH. Earlier and extra frequent analysis of a number of sclerosis utilizing the McDonald criteria. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatr. BMJ Publishing Group Ltd; 2015 Might;86(5):584–5.
  11. Whiting P, Harbord R, Principal C, Deeks JJ, Filippini G, Egger M, et al. Accuracy of magnetic resonance imaging for the analysis of a number of sclerosis: systematic evaluation. BMJ. British Medical Journal Publishing Group; 2006 Apr 15;332(7546):875–84.
  12. Solomon AJ, Bourdette DN, Cross AH, Applebee A, Skidd PM, Howard DB, et al. The modern spectrum of a number of sclerosis misdiagnosis: A multicenter research. Neurology. American Academy of Neurology; 2016 Sep 27;87(13):1393–9.
  13. Rosenkranz SC, Kaulen B, Neuhaus A, Siemonsen S, Köpke S, Daumer M, et al. Low medical conversion price in clinically remoted syndrome sufferers – diagnostic advantage of McDonald 2010 criteria? Eur J Neurol. 2018 Feb;25(2):247–9.
  14. Okuda DT, Mowry EM, Beheshtian A, Waubant E, Baranzini SE, Goodin DS, et al. Incidental MRI anomalies suggestive of a number of sclerosis: the radiologically remoted syndrome. Neurology. 2009 Mar three;72(9):800–5.
  15. Van der Vuurst de Vries RM, Mescheriakova JY, Wong YYM et al. Software of the 2017 Revised McDonald Criteria for Multiple Sclerosis to Sufferers With a Typical Clinically Remoted Syndrome. JAMA Neurology 2018; doi:10.1001/

Obtain this

(perform(d, s, id)
var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];
if (d.getElementById(id)) return;
js = d.createElement(s); = id;
js.src = “//”;
fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);
(doc, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));