Sensory loss with normal nerve conduction studies (NCS) from focal sensory root inflammatory demyelination is characteristic of chronic immune sensory polyradiculopathy (CISP). However, nonpure cases involving motor and distal sensory nerves exist (CISP-plus). We hypothesize that CISP-plus and CISP are fundamentally part of the same syndrome through comparison of clinical, neurophysiologic, and pathologic features.
CISP-plus (primary dorsal root with lesser motor and sensory nerve involvement) and CISP cases were retrospectively analyzed (1986–2019).
We identified 44 CISP-plus and 28 CISP cases (n = 72) with 86% (38/44) of patients with CISP-plus and 79% (22/28) of patients with CISP experiencing imbalance. On examination, large fiber sensory loss was present in 98% (43/44) of patients with CISP-plus and 96% (27/28) of patients with CISP. Gait ataxia was evident in 93% (41/44) of patients with CISP-plus and 79% (22/28) of patients with CISP. Mild distal weakness was common in CISP-plus (75%, 33/44). NCS showed mild abnormalities in all patients with CISP-plus and were normal (by definition) in all patients with CISP. Elevated CSF protein, slowing of somatosensory evoked potentials, and MRI root enhancement occurred in most CISP-plus and CISP cases. Eleven CISP-plus nerve biopsies showed loss of large myelinated fibers and onion-bulb formations, most prominent in rootlet biopsies. Immunotherapy resulted in marked improvement of gait ataxia in 84% (27/32) of patients with CISP-plus and 93% (13/14) of patients with CISP with return to normal neurologic examination in half (25/46).
The recognition of CISP-plus expands the spectrum of CIDP by combining CISP-plus (predominant sensory polyradiculopathy with mild motor and sensory nerve involvement) with pure CISP (focal sensory polyradiculopathy) together as proximal sensory CIDP.