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Predictors of Mortality in Veterans with MS

Int J MS Care; 2017 Sep/Oct; Rabadi, et al

Initial presentation by multiple sclerosis MS type (progressive MS), higher level of disability, and associated motor, sensory, and cerebellar concerns are significant predictors of MS-related mortality, according to a recent study. The main causes of death, it was found, were MS disease itself, infection, respiratory disease, and cancer. Researchers reviewed electronic medical records of 226 veterans with MS regularly followed up from January 1, 2000, through December 31, 2014. They found:

  • Mortality at the end of the 15-year study period was 14%.
  • Patients with MS died prematurely, with a standardized mortality rate of 1.35 relative to the general (Oklahoma) population.
  • The main causes of death documented were MS disease itself (57% of cases), infection (43%), and cancer and respiratory failure (18% each).
  • Cox regression analysis using the whole cohort showed that progressive MS type; older age at entry into the study; presence of sensory, cerebellar, or motor (weakness and/or ataxia) concerns on presentation; more disability on presentation; higher body-mass index; being diabetic; never received disease-modifying therapy; and presence of pressure ulcers or neurogenic bladder were significant predictors of higher mortality.


Rabadi MH, Aston CE. Predictors of mortality in veterans with multiple sclerosis in an outpatient clinic setting. Int J MS Care. 2017;19(5):265-273. doi:10.7224/1537-2073.2016-067.