Vol 44, No 5 (2010)

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Selected aspects of the epidemiology of multiple sclerosis in Poland – a multicentre pilot study

Alina Kułakowska1, Halina Bartosik-Psujek2, Roman Hożejowski3, Krystyna Mitosek-Szewczyk2, Wiesław Drozdowski1, Zbigniew Stelmasiak2
DOI: 10.1016/S0028-3843(14)60134-1
Neurol Neurochir Pol 2010;44(5):443-452.


Background and purpose

The aim was to conduct a pilot study of selected epidemiological aspects of multiple sclerosis (MS) in Poland.

Material and methods

Cross-sectional data were collected in 21 centres providing MS treatment. The demographic profile of the patients, medical history of MS, disability status, comorbidity, and diagnostic and treatment modalities were analysed.


Data on 3581 patients were obtained, including 2494 women (69.6%) and 1030 men (28.8%) – sex ratio 2.4 : 1. The mean age was 40.7 ± 11.9 years. Monofocal onset was reported in 80.8% of cases – the most frequently reported location of lesions was supratentorial (36.1%), followed by optic nerves (26.5%) and spinal cord (20.1%). The mean disease duration was 10.2 ± 8.8 years (range 0.04–53 years), and the mean time from the first symptoms to MS diagnosis was 2.6 years. Relapsing-remitting MS was reported in 70.5% of patients, secondary progressive in 16.8%, primary progressive in 8.4%, and ‘benign MS’ in 2.5%. The mean EDSS score was 3.3 ± 2.2 (range 0–9.5). The family history of MS was positive in 6.4% of cases. Comorbidity mainly applied to the musculoskeletal system (6.5%), the urinary system (5.8%) and psychiatric disturbances (5.5%). Brain magnetic resonance studies were available in 96.3% of the patients, evoked potentials in 54%, and cerebrospinal fluid testing in 63.1% – of whom only 41.2% were tested for oligoclonal bands, with 84% of samples being positive. Immunomodulatory drugs were used in 842 patients (24%), predominandy interferon beta (81%) and glatiramer (13%). Mitoxantrone was the most commonly used immunosuppressant.


This project is the first countrywide large-scale MS survey, covering approximately 18% of patients, according to our estimates. The results identify the clinical condition of the patients, as well as diagnostic and treatment modalities.

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Neurologia i Neurochirurgia Polska