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MRI assessment of cervical spinal cord cross-sectional area in patients with multiple sclerosis.

OBJECTIVES: Spinal cord abnormalities including cervical cord atrophy are common in multiple sclerosis (MS). This study aimed to assess the cervical spinal cord cross-sectional area (CSA) using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in MS patients.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Sixty participants were enrolled in this study (16 male and 44 female), 30 patients with MS, diagnosed according to the revised McDonald criteria, and 30 apparently healthy individuals as the control group. CSA of the spinal cord was measured on axial T2-weighted images of the cervical MRI studies from C2 to C7 vertebral levels.

RESULTS: There was a significant difference between MS patients and the control group in mean CSA at a different level. The mean CSA at C2, in MS cases, was significantly lower than controls (67.7 ± 9.4 mm2 vs. 81.3 ± 4.6 mm2 ). Similarly, the mean CSA at C7 (64.4 ± 9.9 mm2 ) and average C2-7 (68 ± 9.1 mm2 ) of MS cases were significantly lower than the control. There was a strong inverse correlation between mean cervical cord CSA and duration of the disease and disability score. The reduction in cervical cord CSA was more prominent in patients with secondary progressive MS. There was no significant difference regarding age, gender, type of treatment, or the number of cervical cord lesions.

CONCLUSION: The mean CSA was significantly lower in patients with MS than in the control group and was lesser in progressive types. Patients with a longer duration of MS and a high disability score tend to have smaller CSA.

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