Sensory testing versus nerve conduction velocity in diabetic polyneuropathy

Muscle Nerve. 1992 Dec;15(12):1334-9. doi: 10.1002/mus.880151207.


We sought to evaluate the utility of quantitative sensory testing (QST) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV) studies as measures of distal symmetric polyneuropathy (DSP). We studied 36 diabetic patients divided into four clinical categories of increasing severity. QST included thermal testing and vibration thresholds. NCV studies included median, peroneal, and sural nerves. Results of QST and NCV were compared among clinical groups using survival methodology. The log-rank statistic showed significant differences among the groups; the direction of the differences were consonant with clinical severity. For each diabetic patient, the result of each measurement was classified as normal or abnormal; more diabetic patients had abnormal NCV than either vibration tests or thermal tests. In conclusion, findings of QST and NCV are in keeping with clinical categorization of patients, QST and NCV are complementary tests, and the sural sensory study is the best single predictor of DSP.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cold Temperature
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / diagnosis*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Conduction*
  • Pain Threshold
  • Sensation*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Vibration