CEREBELLUM, vol.22, no.2, pp.183-191, 2023 (SCI-Expanded)
The etiology may not be determined in patients with ataxia despite detailed evaluations. The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical and laboratory characteristics of a large cohort of patients with adult-onset ataxia of different etiologies, particularly, undetermined etiologies despite extensive clinical, genetic, laboratory, electrophysiological, and imaging investigations. The medical records of all patients diagnosed with ataxia of subacute-chronic onset between January 2011 and March 2021 were reviewed retrospectively. The records of patients with symptom onset after 16 years of age were included in the study. In all patients, clinical and demographic findings were noted. Etiologies were classified as acquired, hereditary, degenerative (multiple system atrophy-cerebellar, MSA-C), functional, and undetermined. During the study period, we determined 74 patients with ataxia and 59 (35 males) patients met the study criteria. The age range was 22-87 years. The etiologies were hereditary (n = 19), acquired (n = 14), MSA-C (n = 9), functional (n = 2), and undetermined (n = 15). The patients with hereditary etiologies and undetermined causes were significantly younger at admission and at symptom onset (p = 0.001 and p = 0.000). There was a significant delay until diagnosis in patients with hereditary etiologies compared to other etiologies. In acquired etiologies, axial findings (71.4%) were more prominent whereas extremity and axial findings were more common in patients with hereditary etiologies (83.3%, p = 0.030). There were systemic and radiological indicators such as hearing loss, juvenile cataract, or dentate hyperintensity in certain disorders. Hereditary etiologies are as common as acquired or degenerative etiologies in adults. However, they have an earlier onset and delayed diagnosis. Therefore, we should recognize the extracerebellar neurological, systemic, and neuroimaging findings.