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Ultrasound of peripheral nerves distinguishes inherited sensory neuronopathy of cerebellar ataxia with neuropathy and vestibular areflexia syndrome from inherited axonopathy.

Muscle & Nerve 2023 January
Introduction/Aims Recent studies have shown that ultrasound of peripheral nerves can distinguish inherited sensory neuronopathy from acquired axonopathy with a high degree of accuracy. In this study we aimed to determine whether ultrasound can also distinguish inherited sensory neuronopathy from inherited axonopathy. Methods We compared the ultrasound cross-sectional areas (CSAs) of the median, ulnar, sural, and tibial nerves of retrospectively recruited patients with cerebellar ataxia with neuropathy and vestibular areflexia syndrome (CANVAS), in whom sensory neuronopathy is a cardinal feature, with Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2 (CMT2) disease patients, who have an inherited axonopathy, using the Kruskal-Wallis test and receiver-operating characteristic curves. Results There were 17 patients with CANVAS and 18 with CMT2. The upper limb nerve CSAs were significantly smaller in CANVAS than in CMT2 (P < .001), with the CSAs of the median nerve at mid-forearm and ulnar nerve at mid-arm being a third or less the size of those of the CMT2 patients. Nerve ultrasound reliably distinguished CANVAS from CMT2 with ROC areas under the curve between 0.97 and 0.99. The lower limb CSAs of the two patient groups were not significantly different. Discussion Ultrasound of the upper limb nerves distinguishes CANVAS sensory neuronopathy from inherited axonopathy with high accuracy and can therefore be proposed as a reliable additional tool in the investigation of these diseases.

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