Objective Acute transverse myelitis (ATM) is a focal inflammatory disorder of the spinal cord, resulting in motor, sensory, and autonomic dysfunction. In this study, we delineate the clinical manifestations, neuroimaging characteristics, and outcome-associated risk factors in children with idiopathic ATM. Methods We retrospectively reviewed the medical charts and neuroimages in nine children aged younger than 18 years diagnosed with ATM between January 2006 and August 2014. Results The mean onset age was 5 years and 9 months. Infectious prodromes were observed in six patients. Leg weakness was observed in all patients, autonomic sphincter dysfunction was observed in seven patients, and sensory deficits on admission were observed only in four patients. The diagnosis was delayed in patients younger than 5.5 years compared with older children. The adverse outcomes cannot be predicted by the course of the disease, the laboratory findings, nor the extent of magnetic resonance imaging-detected spinal lesions; however, these outcomes can be predicted by poor early response to corticosteroids and the requirement of additional treatments (p < 0.05). Conclusion The diagnosis of ATM is challenging in young children. Children with ATM who responded early to corticosteroids had more favorable outcomes than those who required additional therapies.
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