Diagnosis of multiple sclerosis: 2017 revisions of the McDonald criteria

Alan J. Thompson, Brenda L. Banwell, Frederik Barkhof, William M. Carroll, Timothy Coetzee, Giancarlo Comi, Jorge Correale, Franz Fazekas, Massimo Filippi, Mark S. Freedman, Kazuo Fujihara, Steven L. Galetta, Hans Peter Hartung, Ludwig Kappos, Fred D. Lublin, Ruth Ann Marrie, Aaron E. Miller, David H. Miller, Xavier Montalban, Ellen M. MowryPer Soelberg Sorensen, Mar Tintoré, Anthony L. Traboulsee, Maria Trojano, Bernard M.J. Uitdehaag, Sandra Vukusic, Emmanuelle Waubant, Brian G. Weinshenker, Stephen C. Reingold, Jeffrey A. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1545 Scopus citations


The 2010 McDonald criteria for the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis are widely used in research and clinical practice. Scientific advances in the past 7 years suggest that they might no longer provide the most up-to-date guidance for clinicians and researchers. The International Panel on Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis reviewed the 2010 McDonald criteria and recommended revisions. The 2017 McDonald criteria continue to apply primarily to patients experiencing a typical clinically isolated syndrome, define what is needed to fulfil dissemination in time and space of lesions in the CNS, and stress the need for no better explanation for the presentation. The following changes were made: in patients with a typical clinically isolated syndrome and clinical or MRI demonstration of dissemination in space, the presence of CSF-specific oligoclonal bands allows a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis; symptomatic lesions can be used to demonstrate dissemination in space or time in patients with supratentorial, infratentorial, or spinal cord syndrome; and cortical lesions can be used to demonstrate dissemination in space. Research to further refine the criteria should focus on optic nerve involvement, validation in diverse populations, and incorporation of advanced imaging, neurophysiological, and body fluid markers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-173
Number of pages12
JournalThe Lancet Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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