Quantitative assessment of brachial plexus MRI for the diagnosis of chronic inflammatory neuropathies.

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This study aimed at developing a quantitative approach to assess abnormalities on MRI of the brachial plexus and the cervical roots in patients with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) and multifocal motor neuropathy (MMN) and to evaluate interrater reliability and its diagnostic value.We performed a cross-sectional study in 50 patients with CIDP, 31 with MMN and 42 disease controls. We systematically measured cervical nerve root sizes on MRI bilaterally (C5, C6, C7) in the coronal [diameter (mm)] and sagittal planes [area (mm2)], next to the ganglion (G0) and 1 cm distal from the ganglion (G1). We determined their diagnostic value using a multivariate binary logistic model and ROC analysis. In addition, we evaluated intra- and interrater reliability.Nerve root size was larger in patients with CIDP and MMN compared to controls at all predetermined anatomical sites. We found that nerve root diameters in the coronal plane had optimal reliability (intrarater ICC 0.55-0.87; interrater ICC 0.65-0.90). AUC was 0.78 (95% CI 0.69-0.87) for measurements at G0 and 0.81 (95% CI 0.72-0.91) for measurements at G1. Importantly, our quantitative assessment of brachial plexus MRI identified an additional 10% of patients that showed response to treatment, but were missed by nerve conduction (NCS) and nerve ultrasound studies.Our study showed that a quantitative assessment of brachial plexus MRI is reliable. MRI can serve as an important additional diagnostic tool to identify treatment-responsive patients, complementary to NCS and nerve ultrasound.

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