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PLoS One. 2018 Feb 23;13(2):e0191957. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191957. eCollection 2018.

A comparison of balance control during stance and gait in patients with inflammatory and non-inflammatory polyneuropathy.

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Department of Neurology, Cantonal Hospital Aarau, Aarau, Switzerland.
Department of Neurology, Inselspital, University Hospital Bern and University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Division of Audiology and Neurootology, Department of ORL, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.



We compared changes in balance control due to chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) and non-inflammatory (non-inf) polyneuropathy (PNP) to each other and with respect to healthy controls (HCs). Differences in patients' subjective impressions of balance capabilities were also compared.


Balance control of 11 CIDP patients (mean age 61.1±(sd) 11, 8 male) and 10 non-inf PNP patients (mean age 68.5±11.7, all male) was examined and compared to that of 18 age- and gender-matched healthy controls. Balance control during stance and gait tasks was measured as trunk sway angles and angular velocities with body-worn gyroscopes. Patients' subjective impressions of balance were obtained using the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI). The Neuropathy Impairment Score in the Lower Limbs (NIS-LL) was used to measure clinical disease status.


Non-inf PNP patients had slightly lower NIS-LL (13.5±7.2 vs. 17.9±15.1) and DHI scores (22.6±17.1 vs 27.6±16.3). Gait tasks showed a significant decrease in gait speed with respect to HCs for both patient groups but reduced trunk sway for non-inf PNP patients. Trunk sway during tandem walking and walking on the heels was greater for both groups than that of HCs. Sway during 2-legged stance tasks with eyes closed on a firm or foam surface was also greater than for HCs.


Compared to HCs both groups of patients have significantly greater sway for most stance and gait tasks accompanied by reduced gait speed. As for HCs, non-inf PNP patients reduced trunk sway with slower gait speed. In CIDP patients this compensatory strategy was absent, possibly due to a greater deficit of efferent and motor nerve fibers. An interpretation of these findings is that CIDP patients have reduced ability to decrease trunk sway with slower gait speed and is possibly associated with an increased risk of falls.

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