What is Devic's Syndrome?
Devic's syndrome is a rare autoimmune central nervous system disorder
characterized by transverse myelitis (in which the fatty, protective covering
of the spinal cord breaks down) and optic neuritis (in which inflammation of
the optic nerve causes loss of vision and eye pain).]. It is considered a
special form of multiple sclerosis (MS) with a severe and rapid course. The
disorder affects the optic nerve and the nerves in the spinal cord. In Devic's
syndrome, the fatty sheath that protects these nerves is lost. Individuals may
experience vision impairment and various degrees of paralysis, as well as
incontinence. The disorder is closely linked with MS and lupus, but usually
appears before any symptoms of MS are noted. If an isolated disease episode
affecting the spinal cord and optic nerve occurs after an infection or common
cold, it is considered a post-infectious acute demyelinated encephalomyelitis
(ADE) rather than Devic's syndrome.
Is there any treatment?
There is currently no standard treatment for Devic's syndrome. Generally,
treatment is symptomatic and supportive. Corticosteroids may be prescribed.
Treatment for ADE may include corticosteroids, intravenous immunoglobulin, and
What is the prognosis?
Devic's syndrome is fatal in many patients. Some ADE patients achieve
complete or nearly complete recovery while others may have residual deficits.
Some severe cases of ADE may be fatal.
What research is being done?
The NINDS supports an extensive research program of basic studies to
increase understanding of how the nervous system works. A major goal of this
research is to develop methods for repairing damaged nerves and restoring full
use and strength to injured areas.
this link to view a list of studies currently seeking patients.
|Multiple Sclerosis Foundation|
6350 North Andrews Avenue
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309-2130
Tel: 954-776-6805 888-MSFOCUS (673-6287)
|National Eye Institute (NEI)|
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, Rm. 6A32 MSC 2510
Bethesda, MD 20892-2510
|National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)|
P.O. Box 1968
(55 Kenosia Avenue)
Danbury, CT 06813-1968
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)