Follow up of patients with signs and symptoms of polyneuropathy not confirmed by electrophysiological studies

Rosenberg, N. R.; Slolema, C. W.; Hoogendijk, J. E.; Vermeulen, M.; Slotema, C W
June 2005
Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry;Jun2005, Vol. 76 Issue 6, p879
Academic Journal
journal article
The outcome and final diagnoses of patients with symptoms and/or signs suggestive of polyneuropathy, but with normal electrophysiological studies, were investigated. All patients who presented at the outpatient clinic between 1993 and 1998 with signs and symptoms suggestive of polyneuropathy, but in whom electrophysiological studies were normal, were included. We retrospectively collected data from the medical records and then interviewed the patients and used the Sickness Impact Profile scale to investigate functional status at least 2 years after presentation. We included 74 patients, of whom 39 had neurological signs at neurological examination at the first visit. A final diagnosis was made in 24 of the 39 patients with neurological signs, and in three of the 35 patients without neurological signs but with symptoms. One (3%) of the 35 patients without neurological signs at the first visit had a poor outcome versus 15 (39%) of the 39 patients with neurological signs. In 11 (41%) of the 27 patients in the group with a final diagnosis the outcome was poor versus 5 (11%) of 47 patients without a final diagnosis. In 11 patients we concluded that they probably had small fibre neuropathy. Patients presenting with symptoms of polyneuropathy but who have neither neurological signs of polyneuropathy nor electrophysiological studies confirming a polyneuropathy have a good outcome at least 2 years after presentation. Further investigations are not indicated, except for patients fulfilling the criteria of small fibre neuropathy. In patients with neurological signs, as the outcome depends on the diagnosis and an explanation for these signs is often found, repeated investigations in this group are mandatory.


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