Objectives: Autonomic deficits in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) have not been adequately quantitated. The Composite Autonomic Severity Score (CASS) is a validated instrument for laboratory quantitation of autonomic failure derived from standard autonomic reflex tests. We characterized dysautonomia in CIDP using CASS. Methods: Autonomic function was retrospectively analyzed in 47 patients meeting CIDP criteria. CASS ranges from 0 (normal) to 10 (pandysautonomia), reflecting summation of sudomotor (0-3), cardiovagal (0-3), and adrenergic (0-4) subscores. Severity of neurologic deficits was measured with Neuropathy Impairment Score (NIS). Degree of small fiber involvement was assessed with quantitative sensation testing. Thermoregulatory sweat test (TST) was available in 8 patients. Results: Patients (25 men) were middle-aged (45.0 ± 14.9 years) with longstanding CIDP (3.5 ± 4.3 years) of moderate severity (NIS, 46.5 ± 32.7). Autonomic symptoms were uncommon, mainly gastrointestinal (9/47; 19%) and genitourinary (8/47; 17%). Autonomic deficits (CASS ≤1) were frequent (22/47; 47%) but very mild (CASS, 0.8 ± 0.9; CASS ≤3, all cases). Deficits were predominantly sudomotor (16/47; 34%) and cardiovagal (10/47; 21%) with relative adrenergic sparing (4/47; 9%). TST was abnormal in 5 of 8 patients (anhidrosis range, 2%-59%). Sudomotor impairment was predominantly distal and postganglionic. Somatic deficits (disease duration, severity, small fiber deficits) did not predict presence of autonomic deficits. Conclusion: Our data characterize the autonomic involvement in classic CIDP as mild, cholinergic, and predominantly sudomotor mainly as a result of lesions at the distal postganglionic axon. Extensive or severe autonomic involvement (CASS ≤4) in suspected CIDP should raise concern for an alternative diagnosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology