Wu PBJ, Baig M, Huang S, Kingery WS, Date E: Temperature correction factors derived from normal subjects may be invalid in demyelinating neuropathies. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 1993;72:369–371
This study investigates the temperature effect on motor nerve conduction velocity (MNCV) in patients with neuropathic processes. Fourteen subjects, ages 18–77 yr old, with a diagnosis of uremic polyneuropathies (UPN, n = 5), diabetic polyneuropathies (DPN, n = 6) or carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS, n = 3) and ten normal controls were studied. After limb cooling in a cold water bath for 30 min, skin temperatures were sequentially obtained from the volar midwrist. Motor conduction velocities were obtained at 2–3° increments between 22 and 33°C. Results indicated a large individual variability; 0.1 to 1.8 in the median and 0.8 to 2.0 m/s/°C in the ulnar nerve when all three groups are considered together. There was a significant difference between the correction factors for control v DPN and control v CTS. A significant difference was also present for UPN v DPN and UPN v CTS (p < 0.05). There was a positive correlation (r = 0.746, p = 0.0001) between the baseline conduction velocities and the size of the correction factors in all the subjects. The effect of temperature on MNCV appears to be inversely correlated with the severity of conduction slowing or demyelination. These findings suggest that the use of a correction factor may be invalid when studying a demyelinated nerve, and that the extremity should be warmed to a specific temperature before an electrodiagnostic study.