Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis and its place amongst other acute inflammatory demyelinating CNS disorders.
The diagnosis of acute inflammatory demyelinating CNS conditions is complex and this is reflected in variations in how cohorts are defined across studies. For some conditions the diagnosis relies on whether it is monophasic or relapsing, in others the anatomical site of inflammation is used as a means of categorisation. Clinical features such as precipitants, gender and age may affect the probability of certain diagnoses, but are not highly accurate. Exclusive features for the pathology are identifiable for some but not all conditions, and are seldom available during life. Specific markers such as antibodies are informative and new developments in this area are likely in the near future. This review outlines the features and classification of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis and contrasts it with other related conditions before attempting to define a pragmatic organisation of these conditions based upon present evidence.