Clinical Features, Treatment, and Outcomes Among Chinese Children with Anti-methyl-D-aspartate Receptor (Anti-NMDAR) Encephalitis

Zhang, M.; Li, W.; Zhou, S.; Zhou, Y.; Yang, H.; Yu, L.; Wang, J.; Wang, Y.; Zhang, L.

Frontiers in Neurology 10: 596


ISSN/ISBN: 1664-2295
PMID: 31244759
DOI: 10.3389/fneur.2019.00596
Accession: 069095482

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Objective: Anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (anti-NMDAR) encephalitis is the most common form of autoimmune encephalitis in pediatric patients. In this study, we aimed to investigate the clinical features and long-term outcomes of pediatric patients with anti-NMDAR encephalitis in China. Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of children (age range: 0-18 years) with anti-NMDAR encephalitis treated at Children's Hospital of Fudan University between July 2015 and November 2018. Demographic characteristics, clinical features, treatment, and outcomes were reviewed. Results: Thirty-four patients with anti-NMDAR encephalitis were enrolled (age range: 5 months to 14 years; median age: 7 years; female: 18). The median follow- up duration was 20 months (range: 6-39 months). Eighteen (52.9%) patients initially presented with seizures and 10 (29.4%) with abnormal (psychiatric) behaviors or cognitive dysfunction. Thirty (88.2%) patients exhibited more than two symptoms during the disease course. No neoplasms were detected. Twelve (35.2%) patients had abnormal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) findings, including leukocytosis, and increased protein concentration. Eighteen (52.9%) patients exhibited normal brain MRI findings. Electroencephalography revealed abnormal background activity in 27 (79.4%) patients, and epileptiform discharges in 16 (47.0%) patients prior to immunotherapy. All patients received first-line immunotherapy, with 30 (88.2%) and four (11.8%) patients achieving good (Modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score of 0-2) and poor outcomes (mRS score of 3-5), respectively. Initial mRS scores differed significantly between the good and poor outcome groups. Fourteen out of 18 patients (77.7%) with seizures accepted anti-epileptic drug (AED) administration, and seizure freedom was achieved in 12 out of 14 (85.7%) patients at the last follow-up. Ten of these 12 (83.3%) patients withdrew from AED treatment within 1 year. Conclusions: Most patients achieved seizure freedom, so long-term use of AEDs may not be necessary for pediatric patients with anti-NMDAR encephalitis. Among our patients, 83.3% were sensitive to first-line immunotherapy and achieved good outcomes. Higher mRS scores before immunotherapy predicted poor outcomes, highlighting the need for a comprehensive assessment of patients with anti-NMDAR encephalitis.