MRI quantifies lumbosacral nerve root and sciatic nerve hypertrophy in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy

Eur J Radiol. 2020 Sep:130:109164. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2020.109164. Epub 2020 Jul 7.


Purpose: Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) is a treatable, immune-mediated condition characterised by progressive or relapsing motor and sensory neurological deficits. The diagnosis is based on a combination of clinical, neurophysiological and supportive criteria, but can be challenging. In this study, we quantified the diameter and cross-sectional area of the lumbosacral nerve roots, and explored the imaging characteristics of the sciatic nerves, in patients with CIDP versus healthy controls using MRI.

Methods: MRI of the lumbosacral plexus and both thighs was performed at 3 T. Orthogonal diameter and cross-sectional area of the lumbosacral nerve roots were measured, along with sciatic nerve cross-sectional area at the mid-thigh level. The MRI appearance of the sciatic nerves was also evaluated qualitatively. All measurements were performed by an observer blinded to the diagnosis.

Results: 10 patients with CIDP and 10 healthy controls (age and sex-matched) were studied. Lumbosacral nerve root diameter and cross-sectional area were significantly increased in patients with CIDP compared to controls (mean diameter 6.0 ± 1.1 mm vs 4.8 ± 0.3 mm; p = 0.006), with a high sensitivity (89 %) and specificity (90 %) on ROC analysis. Sciatic nerve cross sectional area was also significantly increased in the CIDP group, and was accompanied by qualitative MRI changes.

Conclusions: Quantitative MRI reveals significant hypertrophy of the lumbosacral nerve roots and sciatic nerves in patients with CIDP compared to controls. This study provides further evidence for the inclusion of lumbosacral nerve root and sciatic nerve hypertrophy on MRI as a supportive feature in the diagnostic criteria for CIDP.

Keywords: Chronic inflammatory demyelinating; Lumbosacral plexus; Magnetic resonance imaging; Polyradiculoneuropathy; Sciatic nerve.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Lumbosacral Plexus / diagnostic imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polyradiculoneuropathy, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating / diagnostic imaging*
  • Polyradiculoneuropathy, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating / pathology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • ROC Curve
  • Sciatic Nerve / diagnostic imaging*
  • Sciatic Nerve / pathology*
  • Young Adult