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J Clin Neurosci. 2001 Nov;8(6):520-4.

The natural history of diabetic peripheral neuropathy determined by a 12 year prospective study using vibration perception thresholds.

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Division of Medicine, United Medical and Dental Medical Schools, St. Thomas' Hospital, London, UK.


The development and long term progression of diabetic peripheral neuropathy was studied using vibration perception threshold (VPT) as a validated measure. Three hundred and ninety-two patients had a normal age corrected VPT (12.1 +/- 3.7 volts) at baseline, with an age corrected logarithmic VPTscore < 12. 19.9% developed an abnormal VPT over a 12 year period, increasing from 14.2 +/- 3.7 volts (VPTscore 10.4 +/- 0.6) at baseline to 35.9 +/- 9.5 volts (VPTscore 12.6 +/- 0.45) at follow up (P = 0.0001), and from 10.1 +/- 3.7volts (VPTscore 9.4 +/- 0.8) to 14.2 +/- 4.7 (VPTscore 9.8 +/- 0.8) in the rest. Over 80% thus retained a "normal" VPT after a mean diabetes duration of 16 years despite only average glycaemic control, suggesting that non-ideal long term glycaemic control leads to neuropathy in a subset of predisposed patients. VPT was correlated in 123 diabetic patients with definitive criteria for neuropathy and a range of quantitative sensory and autonomic tests. 62/63 patients with abnormal VPT fulfilled neuropathy criteria; of patients with normal VPT who fulfilled neuropathy criteria, all had at least one abnormal thermal threshold test result. We conclude that a combination of log-transformed VPT values (VPTscore > 10.1) and thermal thresholds can identify diabetic patients at risk of developing peripheral neuropathy and select patients likely to benefit from prophylaxis in clinical trials.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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