What is the role of somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) in the workup of diabetic polyneuropathy?

Updated: Oct 25, 2019
  • Author: Andrew B Evans, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

SEP is used in the context of diabetes mainly for purposes of confirmation, though it can also be used in selected cases when the central conduction time is needed. In general, the SEP is prolonged in patients with clinically significant diabetic neuropathy. Although SEP may be confirmatory, it is not used often, since routine nerve conduction studies readily yield the diagnosis in diabetic neuropathy.

Palma et al studied SEPs in individuals with non–insulin-dependent diabetes who had different degrees of neuropathy. [71] The wrist–Erb point conduction velocity is decreased and the Erb point–N13 interpeak latencies are increased in patients with diabetes. The N11-N13, N13-N20, and N13-P22 interpeak latencies are within the normal range. The wrist–Erb point conduction velocity was proportional to the degree of neuropathy. The degrees of neuropathy have no influence on the EP-N13 interpeak latency.


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