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Diabet Med. 2014 Dec;31(12):1673-80. doi: 10.1111/dme.12536. Epub 2014 Jul 14.

The diagnostic accuracy of Neuropad for assessing large and small fibre diabetic neuropathy.

Author information

1
Institute of Human Development, Centre for Endocrinology and Diabetes, Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, University of Manchester and NIHR/Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility, Manchester, UK.

Abstract

AIMS:

Neuropad is a simple visual indicator test, with moderate diagnostic performance for diabetic peripheral neuropathy. As it assesses sweating, which is a measure of cholinergic small nerve fibre function, we compared its diagnostic performance against established measures of both large and, more specifically, small fibre damage in patients with diabetes.

METHODS:

One hundred and twenty-seven participants (89 without diabetic peripheral neuropathy and 38 with) aged 57 ± 9.7 years underwent assessment with Neuropad, large nerve fibre assessments: Neuropathy Disability Score, vibration perception threshold, peroneal motor nerve conduction velocity; small nerve fibre assessments: neuropathy symptoms (Diabetic Neuropathy Symptoms score) corneal nerve fibre length and warm perception threshold.

RESULTS:

Neuropad has a high sensitivity but moderate specificity against large fibre neuropathy assessments: Neuropathy Disability Score (> 2) 70% and 50%, vibration perception threshold (> 14 V) 83% and 53%, and peroneal motor nerve conduction velocity (< 42 m/s) 81% and 54%, respectively. However, the diagnostic accuracy of Neuropad was significantly improved against corneal nerve fibre length (< 14 mm/mm2) with a sensitivity and specificity of 83% and 80%, respectively. Furthermore, the area under the curve for corneal nerve fibre length (85%) was significantly greater than with the Neuropathy Disability Score (66%, P = 0.01) and peroneal motor nerve conduction velocity (70%, P = 0.03). For neuropathic symptoms, sensitivity was 78% and specificity was 60%.

CONCLUSIONS:

The data show the improved diagnostic performance of Neuropad against corneal nerve fibre length. This study underlines the importance of Neuropad as a practical diagnostic test for small fibre neuropathy in patients with diabetes.

PMID:
24975286
PMCID:
PMC4236278
DOI:
10.1111/dme.12536
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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