Rapid screening for inflammatory neuropathies by standardized clinical criteria

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Delay in recognition and treatment of inflammatory neuropathies increases morbidity and mortality. We have developed and standardized 3 clinical screening criteria that rapidly detect inflammatory neuropathies.


We reviewed all patients with definite large fiber neuropathy in 2 different patient populations: 1 from a private neurology clinic and the other from a tertiary care center. Patients were divided into 2 groups: those with an inflammatory neuropathy and those with a noninflammatory neuropathy. We specifically noted the 3 key neuropathy characteristics: onset, distribution, and associated systemic features (ODS). We studied the sensitivity and specificity of ODS in differentiating between inflammatory and noninflammatory neuropathies.


A total of 206 patients were included: 51 from the private clinic and 155 from the tertiary care center. The sensitivity of using ODS in detecting an inflammatory neuropathy was 96% and the specificity was 85%. The positive predictive value of ODS was 0.8 and negative predictive value was 0.97.


Rapid screening for inflammatory neuropathies by ODS clinical criteria is highly sensitive and has a high negative predictive value for noninflammatory neuropathies. ODS uses simple clinical criteria to rapidly screen for patients with a potentially treatable form of neuropathy and accelerate their diagnostic evaluation.

Classification of evidence:

This study provides Class IV evidence that 3 neuropathy characteristics—onset, distribution, and associated systemic features—accurately identify patients with inflammatory neuropathies.

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