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An update on epidemiology, diagnosis & management of NMO-SD in the tertiary neurology department of Marrakech (Morocco) - 31/07/20

Doi : 10.1016/j.neurol.2020.05.006 
N. Kissani a, b, , O. Cherkaoui Rhazouani a, b , L. Berrhoute a, b , M. Chraa a, b , N. Louhab a, b
a Neuroscience Research Laboratory, Marrakech Medical School, Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech, Morocco 
b Neurology department, Mohammed VI university hospital, Marrakech, Morocco 

Corresponding author. Neuroscience Research Laboratory, Marrakech Medical School, Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech, Morocco.Neuroscience Research Laboratory, Marrakech Medical School, Cadi Ayyad UniversityMarrakechMorocco
Sous presse. Épreuves corrigées par l'auteur. Disponible en ligne depuis le Friday 31 July 2020



Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and NMO spectrum disorders (NMO-SD) are inflammatory demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system. There are few epidemiological studies devoted to NMO, especially in Africa and the Middle East, but individual cases and series have been reported from many countries across the African continent.


To describe the epidemiology, diagnosis, and management of NMO patients followed at the Mohammed VI University Hospital of Marrakech.

Patients and methods

This was a hospital-based retrospective study of 52 patients with NMO diagnosed and followed at the Neurology department of the University Hospital of Marrakech from 2004 to July 2019. The 2006 diagnostic criteria of NMOSD were used for patients admitted before 2015 for inflammatory disease of the central nervous system and the 2015 diagnostic criteria of NMO-SD for all patients thereafter. Collected data were analysed using SPSS software.


The study concerned 52 patients, 18 males and 34 females. Median age at disease onset was 32.5 years (range 7–55). Mean time between symptom onset and diagnosis of NMO was nine months 18 days (range 7 days to 4 years). In most patients, manifestations included visual acuity, tetraparesis, and sensorial disorders. Refractory vomiting and hiccup were noted in the first attack in 19% of patients. Two patients had hypersomnia and polyphagia, and one had been treated for depression ten months before the development of severe tetraplegia. Magnetic resonance imaging did not show any brain lesions in 29% of patients. Cervical myelitis extending to more than three vertebrae was found in 60% of patients. AQP4-antibody assay was performed only in 57.7% of patients, and was positive in 38.4%; anti-MOG was positive in four anti-AQP4 seronegative patients. Management strategies for NMO-SD included methylprednisolone pulses (70% of patients), plasmapheresis (25%), and rituximab (since 2017) for 46%. Outcome was favourable in 40% of patients and has remained stable in 50% of them.


Anti-NMO assays, made available during the last five years with the help of The Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation, have led to a clear jump in the number of cases diagnosed. Major advances in the field of epidemiology, imaging, and pathophysiology of NMO-SD have led to improved patient care and outcome.

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Keywords : Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder, Autoimmune disorders, Anti-aquaporin 4 antibodies, Morocco


© 2020  Elsevier Masson SAS. Tous droits réservés.
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