Objectives: Show the chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) is not only clinically heterogeneous but extremely variable in severity.
Methods: Three patients were referred for mild distal paresthesiae lasting more than 6 months and one for inguinal and thigh pain later ascribed to coxarthrosis. Strength was normal in all patients and tactile sensation reduced distally only in one. Tendon jerks were absent, except the knee jerks in one patient, reduced in lower limbs in two and normal in one.
Results: Electrophysiology showed a demyelinating neuropathy without motor conduction block. CSF protein content was increased in all patients. Nerve biopsies showed de-remyelination with varying degrees of axonal loss. Genetic studies excluded a demyelinating neuropathy associated with duplication or deletion of the 17p.11.2 segment.
Conclusions: CIDP patients with pure sensory clinical presentation have been described but are generally more severely impaired. However, because of the mildness of symptoms and the unequivocal electrophysiological involvement of motor fibers, we think that in these cases the term minimal CIDP is more appropriate than sensory CIDP. These cases represent the most benign end of the CIDP spectrum. In our series minimal or even asymptomatic CIDP encompasses 8% of cases.