Background: Neuropad is a novel indicator test for sudomotor dysfunction, which has not been validated as a screening tool in a population-based study. This study aimed to evaluate the utility of Neuropad as a screening tool for distal symmetric polyneuropathy among elderly subjects with diabetes and pre-diabetes in the general population.
Methods: Eligible subjects aged 61-82 years (n = 940) from the KORA F4 survey were examined, 201 of whom had diabetes and 231 had pre-diabetes (WHO 1999 criteria). Polyneuropathy was defined by the Michigan Neuropathy Screening Instrument (MNSI) score >3.
Results: Polyneuropathy was diagnosed in 60 (29.9%) subjects with diabetes and in 45 (19.5%) subjects with pre-diabetes, respectively (p = 0.013). The sensitivity and negative predictive value of Neuropad (reading time: 10 min) for the diagnosis of polyneuropathy were moderately high, reaching 76.7% and 78.1% in subjects with diabetes and 57.8% and 76.5% in those with pre-diabetes, respectively. Conversely, the specificity and positive predictive value for the diagnosis of polyneuropathy were rather low: 35.5% and 33.6% in diabetic individuals and 33.3% and 17.3% in subjects with pre-diabetes, respectively. Use of the >2 cut-off and MNSI combined with monofilament examination did not improve the diagnostic performance of Neuropad.
Conclusions: In the elderly general population with diabetes and pre-diabetes, Neuropad has reasonable sensitivity but rather low specificity for the diagnosis of polyneuropathy. It is a useful simple and inexpensive tool to screen for and to exclude polyneuropathy as desired, while its low specificity implies that a longer reading time merits consideration.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.