Conduction block in diabetic neuropathy

Sawsan R. Abu‐Shakra, David R. Cornblath, Orlando L. Avila, Vinay Chaudhry, Miriam Freimer, Jonathan D. Glass, Johannes W. Reim, Gabriele V. Ronnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Symmetric sensorimotor polyneuropathy is a common complication of diabetes. Sensory and motor evoked amplitudes and conduction velocities are reduced. Both demyelination and axon loss have been reported in pathologic studies. Conduction block (CB), a manifestation of segmental demyelination, has not been previously studied in diabetic neuropathy. We determined the prevalence of conduction block in patients with diabetes by analyzing electrodiagnostic data from 24 diabetics. Conduction block was defined as a >20% drop in peak‐to‐peak amplitude, and a <15% change in negative‐peak duration between proximal and distal stimulation sites. A total of 76 nerve segments were studied. The criteria for conduction block were met in only 6 segments in 6 patients. The mean decrease in peak‐to‐peak amplitude between stimulation sites was 28% (range 21% to 40%). We conclude that conduction block over long nerve segments is uncommon in diabetic neuropathy, and, if present, suggests that other causes for neuropathy in diabetic patients should be sought.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)858-862
Number of pages5
JournalMuscle & nerve
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1991


  • conduction block
  • diabetes
  • electrophysiology
  • neuropathy
  • temporal dispersion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)


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