Mapping diabetic sensory neuropathy by current perception threshold testing

M. S. Rendell, D. J. Dovgan, T. F. Bergman, G. P. O'Donnell, E. P. Drobny, J. J. Katims

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Detailed clinical neurological examinations were conducted on 44 nondiabetic volunteers and 59 diabetic subjects. The examinations focused particularly on sensory symptomatic and physical evaluation. Standardized assessment of symptoms and physical testing of light touch, pain, vibratory, and thermal sensation was performed at the hand, wrist, elbow, foot, ankle, and knee. A total symptom score and physical score were defined by summing test scores at each site. Current perception threshold (CPT) testing that used constant sine-wave-alternating current was conducted at the same anatomic sites. CPT correlations with the physical score gave r values of .55 for 5 Hz, .60 for 250 Hz, and .62 for 2000 Hz (n = 618). Correlations with the symptom score were not as strong: r = .45 for 5 Hz, .46 for 250 Hz, and .51 for 2000 Hz. The correlation with symptom score was due primarily to a strong relationship for the symptoms of numbness (r = .53 for all 3 frequencies). Correlations with pain and paresthesia were much lower. CPTs for diabetic subjects at the three frequencies were higher at most locations than for the nondiabetic volunteers. However, CPTs were no different from normal values in diabetic subjects without evidence of neuropathy. CPT testing appears to be a useful technique for assessment of diabetic sensory neuropathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)636-640
Number of pages5
JournalDiabetes care
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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