How are electrophysiologic studies used for the diagnosis of diabetic neuropathy?

Updated: Jan 17, 2020
  • Author: Dianna Quan, MD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Electrophysiologic studies are the most sensitive, reliable, and reproducible measures of nerve function. [70] Electrophysiologic findings usually correlate with morphologic changes on nerve biopsy. Common early findings are abnormal nerve conduction studies or reduced variability of heart rate with deep breathing or Valsalva maneuver. Although electrodiagnostic studies can characterize and quantitate nerve dysfunction, they cannot distinguish diabetic neuropathy from neuropathy of other causes.

Composite scores, combining clinical, quantitative sensory, [40] and electrophysiologic measures, are often used in natural history and efficacy studies. Examples include the Neuropathy Impairment Score in the Lower Limbs + 7 and the Michigan Diabetic Neuropathy score. [50, 71]

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