All About Multiple SclerosisThe latest MS News articlesEssays describing Multiple SclerosisMultiple Sclerosis Encyclopaedia/GlossaryA list of celebrities with Multiple SclerosisPersonal Experiences with MSOther MS resources on the WebSearch this siteAbout this site

Diagnostic Criteria for Multiple Sclerosis

In April, 2001, an international panel in association with the NMSS of America recommended revised diagnostic criteria for multiple sclerosis. These new criteria have become known as the McDonald criteria after their lead author. They make use of advances in MRI imaging techniques and are intended to replace the Poser Criteria and the older Schumacher Criteria. The new revised criteria are as follows:
 
Clinical Presentation
Additional Data Needed
None; clinical evidence will suffice
(additional evidence desirable but must be consistent with MS)
  • 2 or more attacks
  • 1 objective clinical lesion
Dissemination in space, demonstrated by: 
  • MRI
  • or a positive CSF and 2 or more MRI lesions consistent with MS
  • or further clinical attack involving different site
  • 1 attack
  • 2 or more objective clinical lesions
Dissemination in time, demonstrated by:
  • MRI
  • or second clinical attack
  • 1 attack
  • 1 objective clinical lesion
(monosymptomatic presentation)
Dissemination in space by demonstrated by:
  • MRI
  • or positive CSF and 2 or more MRI lesions consistent with MS
and

Dissemination in time demonstrated by:

  • MRI
  • or second clinical attack
Insidious neurological progression
suggestive of MS
(primary progressive MS)
Positive CSF

and

Dissemination in space demonstrated by:

  • MRI evidence of 9 or more T2 brain lesions
  • or 2 or more spinal cord lesions
  • or 4-8 brain and 1 spinal cord lesion
  • or positive VEP with 4-8 MRI lesions
  • or positive VEP with <4 brain lesions plus 1 spinal cord lesion
and

Dissemination in time demonstrated by:

  • MRI
  • or continued progression for 1 year

What Is An Attack?

Determining Time Between Attacks How Is "Abnormality" In Paraclinical Tests Determined? What Provides MRI Evidence Of Dissemination In Time?


Diagnostic Criteria links:
International Panel Revises Diagnostic Criteria For MS
Recommended diagnostic criteria for multiple sclerosis


MS Glossary
All About Multiple Sclerosis