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Other Names for this Disease
- Devic syndrome
- Devic's neuromyelitis optica
- Neuromyelitis optica
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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 individuals with Devic disease have the relapsing form of the disease and experience clusters of attacks months or years apart, followed by partial recovery during periods of remission. Disability is cumulative, the result of each attack damaging new areas of myelin. Another form of Devic disease is characterized by a single, severe attack extending over a month or two, with little recurrance after the initial onset of symptoms. Some individuals are severely affected by Devic disease and can lose vision in both eyes and the use of their arms and legs. Most individuals 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 complications from myelitis attacks.
Last updated: 5/7/2010
- NINDS Neuromyelitis Optica Information Page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). 2007; http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/neuromyelitis_optica/neuromyelitis_optica.htm. Accessed 11/18/2009.