Incidence and prevalence of small-fiber neuropathy: a survey in the Netherlands

Neurology. 2013 Oct 8;81(15):1356-60. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182a8236e. Epub 2013 Aug 30.


Objective: To determine the minimum incidence and minimum prevalence rates of small-fiber neuropathy (SFN) in a well-defined region in the southern part of the Netherlands.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study with retrospective data collection, we used data of patients diagnosed with pure SFN at our Small Fiber Neuropathy Center between January 2006 and December 2011 to calculate minimum incidence and prevalence rates.

Results: A total of 88 patients were diagnosed with SFN (mean age 56.9 years, SD 11.8, range 34-81; 44.3% women, 55.7% men). The overall minimum incidence over 2010 and 2011 was 11.73 (95% confidence interval 7.12-18.22) cases/100,000 inhabitants/year. The overall minimum prevalence was 52.95 (95% confidence interval 42.47-65.23) cases/100,000. Incidence and prevalence rates were higher in men than in women, as were the rates in elderly patients compared with younger patients.

Conclusions: The minimum incidence and prevalence rates of SFN are presented. We found that SFN is more frequently seen in men and more often diagnosed in elderly patients. These rates probably are an underestimation and are expected to increase in the coming years, since the awareness of SFN is increasing worldwide.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Erythromelalgia / diagnosis*
  • Erythromelalgia / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies