[Amyotrophic neuralgia: review of 37 cases]

Rev Neurol. 1998 Nov;27(159):823-6.
[Article in Spanish]


Introduction: Amyotrophic neuralgia is characterized by pain of acute or subacute onset, accompanied by weakness and occasionally by atrophy of the brachial muscles, of unknown origin. We present our experience over the past 20 years.

Patients and methods: We made a retrospective review of 37 patients with the above diagnosis, following the criteria of other series of such cases published in the literature.

Results: Twenty four of the patients were men and thirteen were women. The average age was 38 (11 to 71). A relevant clinical history was recorded in 9 cases; infection (5), surgery (4), remote trauma (3) and vaccination (1). There was a painful onset of the condition in 32 patients; objective weakness of the superior brachial plexus (30), inferior (5) or both (2). Atrophy was present in 23 and hypoaesthesia in 13. Two patients had fasciculations and 9 had hyperreflexia. In all patients electromyographic studies showed a neurogenic pattern of denervation of the muscles clinically affected. The severity of the condition was divided into mild (18), moderate (16) and intense (3). Prognosis was good in 24 and sequelae remained in 11. There were 2 bilateral cases and 2 relapses but no familial cases.

Conclusions: There was a ratio of men/women of 1.8:1 and onset usually when the patient was in his forties. Mild infection, surgery, remote trauma and vaccination were the commonest clinical factors. Onset was painful in 85%. Muscular weakness was predominantly in the superior brachial plexus (85%), followed by atrophy in 62%. There was hypoaesthesia in a third of the patients. Most cases were mild (50%) and made a complete recovery (70%). Our findings are similar to those described in most series in the literature.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brachial Plexus Neuritis / epidemiology*
  • Brachial Plexus Neuritis / etiology
  • Brachial Plexus Neuritis / pathology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypesthesia / etiology
  • Infections / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Denervation
  • Muscular Atrophy / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Prognosis
  • Reflex, Abnormal
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Vaccination / adverse effects