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Rev Neurol. 2004 Sep 16-30;39(6):525-9.

[Hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathies. The neurophysiological and pathological aspects of two cases with congenital insensitivity to pain].

[Article in Spanish]

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Servicio de Neurofisiología Clínica, Hospital General Gregorio Marañón, Madrid, Spain.



Two patients suffering from congenital insensitivity to pain were studied. They corresponded to types IV and V of the 'hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathies' (HSAN) classification.


The first case showed important autonomic dysfunctions, such as anhidrosis, hyperthermia, skin and bone trophic impairment, and mental retardation; the second one only exhibited alterations in pain and temperature sensibilities. In both, chronic indolent corneal ulcers were also present. Conventional neurophysiological evaluation of the neuromuscular system was normal, but an afferent disturbance of the blink reflex (BR) was evident in both. The sympathetic skin response was absent in the HSAN type IV case and normal in the HSAN type V. Notable reduction of the small myelinated fibres, associated to almost no unmyelinated fibres in the first case, were found in the sural nerve biopsies.


So far there haven't been described BR abnormalities in patients with congenital insensitivity to pain, which should be related to a trigeminal sensory impairment, which could explain the corneal ulcers that suffered these cases. BR studies should be included in the neurophysiological evaluation of the suspected small fibre neuropathies even when there are no facial symptoms shown.

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