Aims/hypothesis: For use in future drug development for diabetic polyneuropathy, we conducted multicentre trials to assess the reproducibility of nerve conduction studies.
Methods: All measurements were repeated twice at a time interval of 1-4 weeks in 132 healthy subjects (63 men) and 172 patients (99 men) with diabetic polyneuropathy. Using a standardised method, 32 centres participated in the study of control subjects and 65, in patients with diabetic polyneuropathy. Motor nerve conduction studies consisted of stimulating the left median and tibial nerves and recording the compound action potential from abductor policis and adductor hallucis for measuring amplitude, terminal latency and minimal F-wave latency. For sensory conduction studies, sensory nerve action potentials were recorded antidromically from the second digit and the posterior aspect of the lateral malleous after distal stimulation of the left median and sural nerves. We also calculated motor conduction velocity, F-wave conduction velocity and sensory conduction velocity. The relative intertrial variation and intraclass correlation coefficient were used as an index of reproducibility.
Results: Of all the measurements, F-wave latency yielded the highest intraclass correlation coefficient with the smallest relative intertrial variation for both median and tibial nerves in both groups.
Conclusion/interpretation: Median and tibial F-wave latency provide the most reproducible measures for a nerve conduction study, serving as one of the best measures in multicentre drug trials for diabetic polyneuropathies.