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What is the outlook for acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM)?

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Most of the time, a child who gets acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) will recover completely. It will be a slow process, over 4 to 6 weeks. However, it could be 6 months or up to a year before she's fully well.

In some cases, kids don't get over all of their symptoms. They may have lasting vision damage or muscle weakness. They might have trouble in school if they've missed a lot of time, or perhaps as a lingering effect of the attack.

About 8 times out of 10, ADEM happens only once, but sometimes you can get it again within a few months, especially if you don't take steroids for long enough.

Your child might get MS later, but it's unlikely. In very rare cases, ADEM can be fatal.

SOURCES:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: "NINDS Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis Information Page."

Medscape: "Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis."

The Transverse Myelitis Association: "Disease Information."

National Multiple Sclerosis Society: "Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)."

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta: "Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM): Patient and Family Education."

National Organization for Rare Disorders: "Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis."

Cleveland Clinic: "Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)."

Boston Children's Hospital: "Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM) Testing and Diagnosis," "Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis And Related Disorders Program at Boston Children's Hospital," "Treatments for Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM) in Children," "Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) symptoms & causes in children."

UpToDate: "Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis in children: Treatment and prognosis."

Reviewed by Neil Lava on May 6, 2018

SOURCES:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: "NINDS Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis Information Page."

Medscape: "Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis."

The Transverse Myelitis Association: "Disease Information."

National Multiple Sclerosis Society: "Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)."

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta: "Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM): Patient and Family Education."

National Organization for Rare Disorders: "Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis."

Cleveland Clinic: "Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)."

Boston Children's Hospital: "Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM) Testing and Diagnosis," "Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis And Related Disorders Program at Boston Children's Hospital," "Treatments for Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM) in Children," "Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) symptoms & causes in children."

UpToDate: "Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis in children: Treatment and prognosis."

Reviewed by Neil Lava on May 6, 2018

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