Diagnosing NMO

It's important that NMO is correctly diagnosed. It can sometimes be confused with multiple sclerosis , which also affects the brain and spinal cord and has similar symptoms. However, the treatment is different.

Aneurology specialist will discuss your symptoms and medical history with you.

You'll have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of your brain and spinal cord. Some people with NMO (up to 60%) have lesions on their brain and spine, which are different to the lesions of someone with MS.

A blood sample will be taken and tested for aquaporin-4 antibodies.

A lumbar puncture is another test you may have. A sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is taken from the spine using a hollow needle that's inserted into the lower part of the spine.

The fluid sample will be sent to a laboratory to be tested and to look for evidence of conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord or other parts of the nervous system.

In some cases of transverse myelitis, there's an increase in the level of proteins or white cells.

NMO UK has more information about how NMO is diagnosed .

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018