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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Devic disease


Other Names for this Disease

  • Devic syndrome
  • Devic's neuromyelitis optica
  • Neuromyelitis optica
  • NMO
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Your Question

Is Devic disease fatal? And if so, what are the percentages of people who succumb to this disease?

Our Answer

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Is Devic disease fatal? And if so, what are the percentages of people who succumb to this disease?

In some cases, Devic disease can be fatal. Up to 30% of those with unrecognized or untreated Devic disease may die in the first 5 years of their illness. Most commonly, these people succumb to an attack of severe myelitis (inflammation of the spinal cord) leading to respiratory failure.[1]
Last updated: 12/5/2014

What is the long-term outlook for people with Devic disease?

The onset of Devic disease varies from childhood to adulthood, with two peaks: one in childhood and the other in adults in their 40s. Most people with Devic disease have a relapsing form of the disease and experience clusters of attacks months or years apart, followed by partial recovery during periods of remission (a decrease or disappearance of symptoms). Disability is cumulative, the result of each attack damaging new areas of myelin. In rare cases, Devic disease is characterized by a single, severe attack extending over a month or two, with little recurrence after the initial onset of symptoms. Some people are severely affected by Devic disease and can lose vision in both eyes and the use of their arms and legs. Most people experience a moderate degree of permanent limb weakness from myelitis. Muscle weakness can cause breathing difficulties and may require the use of artificial ventilation. The death of an individual with Devic disease is most often caused by respiratory (breathing) complications from myelitis attacks.[2]
Last updated: 12/5/2014

References
Other Names for this Disease
  • Devic syndrome
  • Devic's neuromyelitis optica
  • Neuromyelitis optica
  • NMO
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.