Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) is probably the best recognized progressive immune-mediated peripheral neuropathy. It is characterized by a symmetrical, motor-predominant peripheral neuropathy that produces both distal and proximal weakness. Large-fiber abnormalities (weakness and ataxia) predominate, whereas small-fiber abnormalities (autonomic and pain) are less common. The pathophysiology of CIDP is inflammatory demyelination that manifests as slowed conduction velocities, temporal dispersion, and conduction block on nerve conduction studies and as segmental demyelination, onion-bulb formation, and endoneurial inflammatory infiltrates on nerve biopsies. Although spinal fluid protein levels are generally elevated, this finding is not specific for the diagnosis of ClDP. Other neuropathies can resemble CIDP, and it is important to identify these to ensure correct treatment of these various conditions. Consequently, metastatic bone surveys (for osteosclerotic myeloma), serum electrophoresis with immunofixation (for monoclonal gammopathies), and human immunodeficiency virus testing should be considered for testing in patients with suspected CIDP. Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy can present as various subtypes, the most common being the classical symmetrical polyradiculoneuropathy and the next most common being a localized asymmetrical form, multifocal CIDP. There are 3 well-established, first-line treatments of CIDP—corticosteroids, plasma exchange, and intravenous immunoglobulin—with most experts using intravenous immunoglobulin as first-line therapy. Newer immune-modulating drugs can be used in refractory cases. Treatment response in CIDP should be judged by objective measures (improvement in the neurological or electrophysiological examination), and treatment needs to be individualized to each patient.
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