Nov 14, 2019

Early presentation of urinary retention in multiple system atrophy: can the disease begin in the sacral spinal cord?

Journal of Neurology
Jalesh N PanickerThomas T Warner

Abstract

Lower urinary tract (LUT) dysfunction presents early in multiple system atrophy (MSA), usually initially as urinary urgency, frequency and incontinence, and voiding difficulties/urinary retention becomes apparent over time. We have observed a subset of patients who instead presented initially with urinary retention requiring catheterisation. At presentation, these patients had only subtle neurological signs that would not fulfil the diagnostic criteria of MSA; however, the anal sphincter electromyography (EMG) was abnormal and they reported bowel and sexual dysfunction, suggesting localisation at the level of the sacral spinal cord. They subsequently developed classical neurological signs, meeting the diagnostic criteria for probable MSA. One patient was confirmed to have MSA at autopsy. We postulate that in a subset of patients with MSA, the disease begins in the sacral spinal cord and then spreads to other regions resulting in the classical signs of MSA. The transmissibility of alpha-synuclein has been demonstrated in animal models and the spread of pathology from sacral cord to other regions of the central nervous system is therefore plausible. Patients presenting with urinary retention and mild neurological features would b...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Catheterization
Trial Study
Autopsy
SNCA
Electromyography
Evaluation
Sacral Region
Multiple System Atrophy
Alpha-Synuclein
Pathology

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