No diagnosis of MS yet, but worried for my husband. Questions about MRI result

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Regular Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 8/26/2006 4:19 PM (GMT -6)   
I am writing because I am concerned about my husband. In 2003 he had some problems with his vision and saw a specialist. They said he had a blister on his retina. It went away and his vision was fine, but he has eyeball pain at times. Also, in 2003 he noticed dizziness especially during/after exercising. It seemed the higher his heart rate, the dizzier he felt. We went to an ENT first. He had a slightly abnormal ENG which showed mild labyrinthitis which is inner ear trouble, but the ENT didn't think it was bad enough to cause the dizziness. He went to a neurologist and had various tests. MRI, EEG, etc. All were normal. He went to a heart specialist and had tests and those were fine also. Over the next couple of years, his dizziness was kind of always there, but not real bad. He could work and it didn't seem to bother him too much. He also had really bad ringing in his ears.

He used to exercise a lot but since he gets dizzy when he exercises, he had stopped, but this summer he started riding his bike with me. The dizziness was slight, but not too bad. One day we did a real intense bike ride and when he got home the dizziness was really bad. He almost got sick. Then that night he woke up at night feeling disoriented. He got out of bed and when he tried to walk, it was like he was veering to the left. That lasted about 3 minutes and went away. He stopped exercising and the dizziness leveled off again. He went back to the ENT and he didn't seem to think it was ear related. He went back to the local neurologist and he did an MRI and an MRA. I got a copy of my husband's medical records because we are supposed to be transferring to a different state for my husband's job. In fact, he has already moved there. I was reading a letter from the Neuro to the general doctor. He talked about the eye episode my husband had 3 years ago and wondered if it could have been from a demyelinating process although he said his examination of my husband was negative. He decided to do the MRI with and without contrast to see if it was any different from the MRI he had 2 years ago. He wanted to see if there were any lesions that could be consistent with a demyelinating process. I called for the results of the MRI/MRA since my husband had already moved. The nurse told me that "there were several nonspecific small white matter lesions. No abnormality to explain the vertigo." She said the doctor just said he should repeat the MRI in 6 months.

Since then, my husband has had a couple of episodes where his arms felt heavy and it was hard to hang on to a pen at work.

The doctor never stated if the MRI now was any different than the one two years ago. He mentioned in a letter to my husband's general doctor that he was going to compare the two, but he never said anything to us.

I am looking for some reassurance because it just dawned on us that maybe my husband has MS. The doctor never mentioned any possibility about it, but after reading his report and looking at his symptoms, we are concerned. I would think that if the doctor looked at the old MRI and saw new lesions, he would have been concerned and mentioned it to us. Can they tell on an MRI if the lesions look like MS lesions or not? I know everyone can have white patches on their brain that mean nothing. I just don't know what "nonspecific white lesions" mean. I would hope that if they were looking for a reason for his dizziness, that they would have considered MS as a diagnosis.

Also, can a doctor tell if you have opticial neuritis just from examining your eyes in the office? I am asking because the doctor said that that test was negative.

Besides this being a huge health concern, it is very concerning because I am going to be giving up my job in January to move to this other state with my husband. I do not want to quit a job if there is a chance he could have a possible disabling condition that could hinder his working in the future.

Anyone have any insight or thoughts?

THanks so much and sorry for being so long.

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 8/27/2006 9:26 AM (GMT -6)   
Has anyone ever heard of "nonspecific white lesions." If his MRI was normal, would they have said "normal."

I guess I've read that they can sometimes distinguish betwee deymylating lesions and other ones and would put such in the MRI results.

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 8/27/2006 2:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Gracie's mom for your response.

I do have a copy of the radiologist report and it did mention where the lesions were but didn't mention any reason for them. They knew he was having dizziness, so you would think they would think of MS as a reason.

Does your daughter have MS?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 896
   Posted 8/27/2006 3:09 PM (GMT -6)   
My first MRI didn't mention MS, it just said multiple lesions...too numerous for this patients age and the location of them. My 2nd MRI after diagnosis, said "diagnosis of MS fits these lesions". There are so many different diseases that can cause your hubby's symptoms, hang in there and be sure to see a reputable neurologist. Optic neuritis can be seen during your eye exam but there is a type that is further back of the eye that can't be seen. Generally your Visual evoked potentials will show if you've had O.N.

I'm sorry he is not feeling well and I hope you both are able to find a good doc that will listen and figure this out. Please let us know what happens.

Take care.
Michelle ><>
Don't be so busy doing good
that you neglect to do what's right!

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 8/28/2006 8:58 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi there,

I was just browsing, first time on the site. I am currently undergoing work up for MS... but I wanted to say that I work in a doctor's office and I frequently see the mri results that show non-specific white matter.

They use that because they do not want to specifically state what the reason for the white matter, or lesions is. They expect the doctor to combine this with the clinical information and other studies before committing to a diagnosis. If a diagnosis of MS is already documented and well known in the MRI records, they will then note the lesions as being MS related. Sometimes, they will state in a report that non-specific lesions or white matter is seen that may be consistent with a demylienating process.

It's all doctor speak for we won't tell you it's MS until we know for sure without a doubt (or written on our foreheads)lest you sue us....

Good luck to you and your husband, I can understand your fear, and worry. I've been going through it too.

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 8/28/2006 1:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Lorigirl: Does your husband have dizziness or lightheadedness? There is a difference. Dizziness meaning feels like the room is spinning, and lightheaded meaning he feels about to faint. I too have multiple brain lesions that are non specific and I am still trying to get a doctor to figure out what they are caused by.......I was told possible MS, possible ischemia, possible small blood vessel disease. A lumbar puncture was then ordered to check for MS, but that came back negative, so I will have to repeat in a few months. Does his doctor want to order an LP? Many things can cause brain lesions......MS, ischemia, vasculitis, neurosyphillis, migraines, tuberculosis, fungal, bacterial, or viral infections of the brain, cancer, lyme disease. Always be proactive and have these things ruled out! That's what I am in the process of doing myself; it's a long process and I can't wait to get an answer.
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