Multifocal enlargement and increased vascularization of peripheral nerves detected by sonography in CIDP: a pilot study

Clin Neurophysiol. 2014 Jan;125(1):154-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2013.05.025. Epub 2013 Jul 20.


Objective: Detection of nerve enlargement in polyneuropathies by sonography is a new research area. No systematic investigation has been done yet in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP). Therefore we investigated this in CIDP.

Methods: Eleven patients with CIDP fulfilling the international criteria on CIDP underwent ultrasonographic examination of the median, ulnar, fibular and posterior tibial nerves and sometimes the brachial plexus bilaterally, using a standardized protocol. We assessed presence of nerve thickening and increased nerve vascularization.

Results: In 7 of the 11 patients multiple nerve enlargements were detected: ulnar nerve 7, fibular nerve 5, posterior tibial nerve 4 and median nerve in 4 patients. The number of enlarged nerves was related with the MRC sum-score (p=0.03) and the total protein in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) at diagnosis (p=0.02). Increased vascularization was seen in 6 of the 11 patients: 4 in one nerve and in 2 in multiple nerves. The number of nerves with increased vascularization was associated with the number of enlarged nerves (p=0.01) and total protein in the CSF (p=0.006).

Conclusion: Multiple nerve enlargements occur in CIDP showing a relation with a lower MRC sum-score, increased nerve vascularization and a higher total protein of the CSF.

Significance: Our findings of nerve enlargement and increased nerve vascularization may be tools to monitor disease activity in CIDP, but further studies are needed.

Keywords: CSF protein; Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP); EMG; Nerve hypertrophy; Polyneuropathy; Sonography.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brachial Plexus / blood supply
  • Brachial Plexus / diagnostic imaging
  • Brachial Plexus / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy / diagnostic imaging
  • Hypertrophy / pathology
  • Male
  • Median Nerve / blood supply
  • Median Nerve / diagnostic imaging
  • Median Nerve / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / diagnostic imaging
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology*
  • Peripheral Nerves / blood supply*
  • Peripheral Nerves / diagnostic imaging
  • Peripheral Nerves / pathology*
  • Peroneal Nerve / blood supply
  • Peroneal Nerve / diagnostic imaging
  • Peroneal Nerve / pathology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Polyradiculoneuropathy, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating / diagnostic imaging
  • Polyradiculoneuropathy, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating / pathology*
  • Tibial Nerve / blood supply
  • Tibial Nerve / diagnostic imaging
  • Tibial Nerve / pathology
  • Ulnar Nerve / blood supply
  • Ulnar Nerve / diagnostic imaging
  • Ulnar Nerve / pathology
  • Ultrasonography