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Eur Neurol. 1989;29(2):61-6.

Recurrent familial brachial plexus palsies as the only clinical expression of 'tomaculous' neuropathy.

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Institute of Neurology, University of Bologna, Italy.


Two familial cases of recurrent brachial plexus are described and similar episodes were noticed in other members of the family. Electrophysiological investigations found impaired motor and sensory nerve conduction velocity in affected and nonaffected members. Tomaculous neuropathy was found at biopsy of peripheral nerve in more than 40% of dissected fibers. In addition, two affected members showed a reduced interpupillary distance, i.e. the most common dysmorphic feature found in the hereditary neuralgic amyotrophy (HNA). A literature review showed only two other instances of recurrent familial brachial plexus palsies as the only manifestation of tomaculous neuropathy (hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsy, HNPP). The dysmorphic feature found in our cases in addition to the clinical, electrophysiological and anatomical data support the hypothesis that these cases of HNPP and the HNA may represent the same disease.

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