Painful lumbosacral plexopathy with elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate: a treatable inflammatory syndrome

Ann Neurol. 1984 May;15(5):457-64. doi: 10.1002/ana.410150510.


Six patients had a syndrome of painful lumbosacral plexopathy and elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Sural nerve biopsy in each case showed axonal degeneration and epineurial arterioles surrounded by mononuclear inflammatory cells. Differential fascicular involvement suggested an ischemic cause in three nerves, but no patient had a necrotizing vasculitis. None of the six patients had vasculitis or cancer. Three of the six were diabetic and were initially thought to have diabetic plexopathy, but deterioration continued despite control of the diabetes. These six patients appeared to have an ischemic neuropathy with an immunological basis. Five were treated with immunosuppressant drugs, and in four the plexopathy improved or was arrested. The pathogenesis is unclear, but postmortem findings in one case suggest that the syndrome does not stem from an underlying vasculitis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Sedimentation
  • Cyclophosphamide / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lumbosacral Plexus* / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use*
  • Syndrome


  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Prednisone