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Background: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that results in progressive weakness of skeletal muscles including respiratory muscles. Epidemiological and clinical aspects of ALS are derived from a few world regions with very little representation of low- and middle-income countries. We therefore set out to determine the epidemiological and clinical phenotype of individuals with ALS in Ethiopia. Methods: Multicenter retrospective analysis was conducted using clinical records from ALS patients seen in Ethiopia at Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital and Yehuleshet specialty clinic between January 2016 and August 2021. The data collected included clinical characteristics, disease-related symptoms, a revised ALS functional rating scale, and medications. Results: Patients in Ethiopia had a younger age of onset with a mean age of disease onset of 51.9 years. 2.9% of patients had juvenile ALS, and the male- to-female ratio was almost 2:1. 4.9% had a positive family history of the disease. 68% of patients had spinal region involvement at onset, while 32% had bulbar region involvement at onset. Riluzole was used by 31% of ALS patients. 20.6% of patients had some respiratory symptoms, but none received a standard respiratory function assessment. 33.3% of patients were wheelchair-bound. Conclusion: In this retrospective study spanning 5 years, we examined the clinical phenotype of ALS in Ethiopian patients. Our findings suggest that most patients had clinically definite ALS with spinal region involvement. Further research, including genetic and epigenetic information, is necessary to understand the early onset of the disease in Ethiopia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)678-686
Number of pages9
JournalAmyotrophic lateral sclerosis & frontotemporal degeneration
Issue number7-8
Early online date26 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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