How Diagnosis Works
Navigating an NMOSD diagnosis
NMOSD, neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder.
How NMOSD is diagnosed
The journey to diagnosis can be long, with the disease sometimes being misdiagnosed. NMOSD is a distinct disease from other central nervous system diseases like multiple sclerosis. Most people with NMOSD test positive for anti-aquaporin-4 autoantibodies (anti-AQP4 antibody positive).
A neurologist can confirm an NMOSD diagnosis by:
- Evidence of a positive blood test for NMOSD-specific antibodies
- At least 1 to 2 core symptoms of the disease, such as eye pain or muscle weakness
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain, spinal cord, and/or optic nerve
- Identification of certain patterns in symptoms, such as location and extent of tissue damage
Discover the steps to an anti-AQP4 antibody-positive NMOSD diagnosis
Talk to your doctor
Get these helpful tips for talking to your doctor and bring them to your next appointment.
Request a cell-based assay
A simple blood test, preferably a cell-based assay, for anti-AQP4 antibodies associated with NMOSD is a crucial part of an accurate diagnosis.
Discuss management options
Getting a proper diagnosis as soon as possible is essential to help reduce the risk of further symptom attacks.
In addition to a blood antibody test, a doctor's diagnosis of NMOSD is based on a patient's medical history, physical exam, and a variety of specialized tests. Some of these tests may include an examination of cerebrospinal fluid, MRI, or optical coherence tomography.