Small fibers, large impact: quality of life in small-fiber neuropathy

Muscle Nerve. 2014 Mar;49(3):329-36. doi: 10.1002/mus.23910. Epub 2013 Jun 28.


Introduction: The impact of small-fiber neuropathy (SFN) on patients' quality of life (QOL) has not been studied extensively. Our aim was to determine the impact of SFN on QOL and examine possible determinants.

Methods: We examined a total of 265 patients diagnosed with SFN. The SFN Symptoms Inventory Questionnaire (SFN-SIQ), the pain Visual Analog Scale (VAS), and the generic SF-36 Health Survey were assessed. Regression studies were undertaken to evaluate determinants of functioning.

Results: SFN patients demonstrated a severe overall reduction in QOL. The biggest deficits were in Role Functioning-Physical, Body Pain, and Physical Component Summary (PCS) scores. VAS scores, changed sweating pattern, dry mouth, and age were the strongest predictors for PCS, explaining 32% of the QOL decrease.

Conclusions: SFN leads to a reduction in overall QOL. The presence of pain and some autonomic symptoms explained only a small portion of the findings.

Keywords: clinimetric evaluation; pain; polyneuropathy; quality of life; small-fiber neuropathy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Fibers / pathology
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases* / complications
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases* / pathology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases* / psychology
  • Quality of Life*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Visual Analog Scale
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Thyrotropin