Clinical, neurophysiological and pathological investigations were carried out in 11 affected members of 2 families with hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies (HNPP). The observations were related to findings in 261 cases of 47 families published in the literature. It was concluded that HNPP is a nosological entity characterized by the following diagnostic criteria: (1) an autosomal dominant inheritance; (2) the clinical presentation of a recurrent mononeuropathy simplex or multiplex, frequently related to an inadequate trauma to peripheral nerves; (3) a significant slowing of motor and sensory conduction velocity in clinically affected, but also in clinically unaffected nerves; (4) characteristic morphological findings in sural nerve biopsy featuring "tomaculous" swellings of myelin sheaths, transnodal myelination and segmental demyelination. The pathogenesis of HNPP is not clear. Hypothetical explanations of the pathogenesis of HNPP are discussed.