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Ann Clin Neurophysiol > Volume 10(1); 2008 > Article
Ann Clin Neurophysiol. 2008; 10(1): 29-32.
Controversies on the Usefulness of Nerve Conduction Study in the Early Diagnosis of Diabetic Polyneuropathy: Pros
Ohyun Kwon
Copyright © 2008 The Korean Society of Clinical Neurophysiology
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Although various criteria on the diagnosis of diabetic neuropathy are applied from trial to trial, being tailored in concert with its purpose, the utmost evidences of the diagnosis are subjective symptoms and objective signs of neurologic deficit. The application and interpretation of auxiliary electrophysiological test including nerve conduction study (NCS) should be made on the context of clinical pictures. The evaluation of the functions of small, thinly myelinated or unmyelinated nerve fibers has been increasingly stressed recently with the advent of newer techniques, e.g., measurement of intraepidermal fiber density, quantitative sensory testing, and autonomic function test. And the studies with those techniques have shed light to the nature of the evolution of diabetic neuropathy. The practical application of these techniques to the diagnosis of diabetic neuropathy in the individual patients, however, should be made cautiously due to several shortcomings: limited accessibility, wide overlapping zone between norm and abnormality with resultant unsatisfactory sensitivity and specificity, difficulty in performing subsequent tests, unproven quantitative correlation with clinical deficit, and invasiveness of some technique. NCS, as an extension of clinical examination, is still the most reliable electrophysiological test in evaluating neuropathy and gives the invaluable information about the nature of neuropathy, whereas the newer techniques need more refinement of the procedure and interpretation, and the accumulation of large scaled data of application to be considered as established diagnostic tools of peripheral neuropathy.
Key words: Diabetic neuropathies, Nerve conduction studies, Early diagnosis
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