Clinical Characteristics and Outcomes in Young-Onset Multiple System Atrophy

Negin Badihian, Rodolfo Savica, Charles H. Adler, Zbigniew K. Wszolek, Lauren M. Jackson, Eduardo E. Benarroch, Paola Sandroni, Phillip A. Low, Wolfgang Singer, Elizabeth A. Coon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Young-onset multiple system atrophy (YOMSA) is defined as the onset of multiple system atrophy (MSA) before the age of 40 years old. YOMSA is rare and there is much uncertainty of the phenotype and natural history in patients with YOMSA. Objective: The objective is to evaluate the characteristics and disease course of patients with YOMSA. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed medical records of patients with MSA who were evaluated at all Mayo Clinic sites from 1998 to 2021. We identified patients with YOMSA and evaluated clinical characteristics, autonomic function testing results, and disease course. Results: Of 1496 patients with a diagnosis of clinically probable or clinically established MSA, 20 patients had YOMSA. The median age of onset was 39.1 (interquartile range [IQR] = 37.1, 40.1) years; 13 patients (65%) were male. MSA-parkinsonism was the most common subtype (65%). The median duration of symptom onset to YOMSA diagnosis was 4.9 (IQR = 3.7, 9) years. At the time of medical record review, 17 patients were deceased with a median survival of 8.3 (IQR = 7, 10.9) years. Univariate analysis showed that initial onset of autonomic failure predicted unfavorable survival (hazard ratio = 2.89, P = 0.04) compared to those who presented with motor impairment only at onset. At the time of YOMSA diagnosis, composite autonomic severity score was available in 19 patients with a median of 5 (IQR = 4, 6.5). Conclusions: YOMSA resembles MSA in most aspects including phenotype and prognosis, although the diagnosis is usually delayed. The presence of autonomic failure at symptom onset may be a poor predictor for survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-226
Number of pages7
JournalMovement Disorders Clinical Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • ataxia
  • autonomic failure
  • multiple system atrophy
  • parkinsonism
  • synucleinopathies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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