MRI of the cauda equina in CIDP: clinical correlations

J Neurol Sci. 1999 Nov 15;170(1):36-44. doi: 10.1016/s0022-510x(99)00195-1.


Isolated reports have documented enhancement and/or enlargement of spinal nerve roots on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP). This work examines those findings in a consecutive series of 16 patients with CIDP, with blinded comparison to MRI in 13 disease controls, including five patients with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A. MRI sequences consisted of T1 weighted sagittal and axial views, before and after administration of gadolinium. Blinded MRI interpretation was performed independently by two neuroradiologists. MRI results were correlated with data collected from chart review. Enhancement of the cauda equina was seen in 11 of 16 CIDP patients (69%), and in none of 13 control subjects. Nerve roots were enlarged, most significantly in the extraforaminal region, in three CIDP patients, and in one patient with Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 1A. MRI findings did not correlate with disease activity and severity, nor with any clinical or laboratory features in patients with CIDP.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cauda Equina / pathology*
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / diagnosis
  • Electromyography
  • Electrophysiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Polyradiculoneuropathy, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating / diagnosis*
  • Polyradiculoneuropathy, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating / physiopathology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spinal Nerve Roots / pathology