Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
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Renganathan R, Atkinson A, McNamara B
Irish Medical Journal
How to work up a patient with polyneuropathy?
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Undiagnosed and untreated neuropathy may lead to disability and poor quality of life. Ordering every possible test to find the cause of polyneuropathy can waste time and resources. In this study, we investigated what could be used as a routine neuropathy screen. A retrospective audit of all charts of patients diagnosed to have polyneuropathy by nerve conduction studies from November 2001 to November 2002 were carried out. Demographics, background history, type of neuropathy and investigations done were documented. The charts of 61 patients were audited. 12 patients had a background history of diabetes mellitus. 2 patients had history of alcohol abuse. 23 patients presented with paraesthesia and 33 with weakness of limbs. We found a cause of polyneuropathy in 79% of cases. In most patients with polyneuropathy where a cause can be identified, this can be achieved by the medical history, neurological examination, nerve conduction studies and the baseline blood tests. We suggest a 3-step approach to the diagnostic workup of polyneuropathy.
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