New vistas in the diagnosis of diabetic polyneuropathy

Papanas N, Ziegler D.

Endocrine 2014;47(3):690-8.


New modalities are now available to improve the diagnosis of diabetic polyneuropathy (DPN). The present review discusses the progress achieved in this area. First, the minimal diagnostic criteria have been better clarified. Moreover, there are now new bedside tests available, such as the indicator test Neuropad, NeuroQuick, Ipswich Touch Test (IpTT), Vibratip, NC-stat(®)/DPNCheck™ for automated nerve conduction study (NCS), tactile circumferential discriminator, steel ball-bearing, and SUDOSCAN(®), while more sophisticated modalities include skin biopsy and corneal confocal microscopy (CCM). Some tests can be used as screening tools, including primary care setting (Neuropad, IpTT, Vibratip, automated NCS), while others are more suitable for research, including evaluation of DPN in prospective studies (CCM, skin biopsy). Importantly, there is some evidence of earlier DPN diagnosis with the aid of some tests (Neuropad, skin biopsy, CCM). Further advantages provided by different tests are educational value and self-examination. Thus far, the potential of these tests has not been fully utilised. In particular, they have not been validated against standardised clinical examination scores in terms of predicting foot ulcers and amputations. Hence, it now remains to investigate the potential benefits from the widespread use of these tests for earlier and easier diagnosis of DPN in the everyday clinic.