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Neurology. 1994 Sep;44(9):1669-74.

Sciatic neuropathy: clinical and prognostic features in 73 patients.

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Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco 94143.


We examined the clinical features of patients with sciatic neuropathy and the factors that influence prognosis. Of 92 consecutive patients referred for EMG evaluation of sciatic neuropathy, 73 fulfilled strict inclusion and exclusion criteria and had adequate clinical and electrophysiologic information. The etiologies included hip arthroplasty (21.9%), acute external compression (13.7%), infarction (9.6%), gunshot wound (9.6%), hip fracture/dislocation (9.6%), femur fracture (4.1%), contusion (4.1%), and uncertain (16.4%). We used life table analysis to determine outcome and to identify prognostic factors in patients with acute or subacute onset. Moderate or better recovery (improvement to grade 2 or by two of six clinical grades) occurred in most patients (30% by 1 year, 50% by 2 years, 75% by 3 years). A subgroup experienced excellent improvement (by three of six grades, or to grade 2) less frequently (33% by 2 and 3 years). Of the nine factors tested, two predicted an earlier or better recovery: a recordable compound muscle action potential of the extensor digitorum brevis (p < 0.025), and an initial absence of paralysis of muscles controlling ankle plantar flexion and dorsiflexion (p < 0.05). Thus, good but incomplete recovery occurs over 2 to 3 years in most patients with sciatic neuropathy, particularly in those without severe motor axonal loss.

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