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AbstractBackgroundPeripheral nerve biopsy is a valuable final diagnostic tool; however, histopathological results can be non‐diagnostic.AimsWe aim to identify quality improvement measures by evaluating the pre‐biopsy assessment and diagnostic yield of specific histopathological diagnosis.MethodsThis was a retrospective study based on 10 years of experience with peripheral nerve biopsies at a single centre. Clinical data were obtained regarding pre‐biopsy history, examination, serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) investigations, neurophysiology and peripheral nerve imaging. Based upon a histopathological outcome, patients were grouped into vasculitis, granulomatous and infiltrative (diagnostic) group, or a comparison group of non‐specific axonal neuropathy and normal (non‐specific/normal) group.ResultsFrom a cohort of 64 patients, 21 (32.8%) were included in the diagnostic group and 30 (46.9%) in the non‐specific/normal group. Clinical parameters associated with the diagnostic group were shorter history (mean 10.2 months vs 38.1), stepwise progression (81% vs 20%), neuropathic pain (85.7% vs 56.7%), vasculitic rash (23.8% vs 0%), mononeuritis multiplex (57.1% vs 10%), asymmetry (90.5% vs 60%), raised white cell count (47.6% vs 16.7%), myeloperoxidase antibody (19.1% vs 0%) and abnormal peripheral nerve imaging (33.3% vs 10%).ConclusionSelection of patients undergoing nerve biopsy requires careful consideration of clinical parameters, including peripheral nerve imaging. Several quality improvement measures are proposed to improve yield of clinically actionable information from nerve biopsy.

Original publication




Journal article


Internal Medicine Journal



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