Objective: To describe the clinical characteristics of encounters with patients misdiagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Methods: A cross-sectional Internet-based physician survey of MS specialists was performed. Results: The response rate for the survey was 50.4%. Of those who responded, the majority (95%) reported having evaluated 1 or more patients who had been diagnosed with MS, but who they strongly felt did not have MS, within the last year. The majority of respondents (≥90%) also reported the use of disease-modifying therapy in a proportion of these patients. Most respondents (94%) found clinical encounters with these patients equally or more challenging than giving a new diagnosis of MS. Fourteen percent of respondents reported that they did not always inform such patients of their opinion that they did not have MS. Conclusions: The misdiagnosis of MS is common and has significant consequences for patient care and health care system costs. Caring for a patient with a misdiagnosis of MS is challenging, and at times honest disclosure of a misdiagnosis represents an important ethical concern for neurologists. More data are needed on this patient population to improve diagnostic acumen and the care of these patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology