Polyneuropathy in an adult hospital population: Assessment of the prevalence through a simple screening procedure

Ettore Beghi, Pasquale Simone, Francesco Apollo, Pietro Di Viesti, Maurizio Treviso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An epidemiological survey has been conducted during a 3-month period in the Regional Hospital of S. Giovanni Rotondo, a small city in Southern Italy. A total of 1,878 patients aged 12 years and over admitted to the hospital were randomized during the study period. Each patient was asked 7 specific questions focusing on symptoms most likely due to polyneuropathy. The sensitivity and specificity of the screening procedure were tested sepa-rately and found to be high. All cases who gave affirmative answers to at least 2 questions were carefully investigated in search of a polyneuropathy. Of the 20 cases which gave an affirmative answer to 2 or more questions, 19 (1% or 10 cases per 1,000 hospital population) had a neurological examination fitting with the diagnosis of polyneuropathy. There were 3 males and 16 females with a median age of 61 years. Diabetes was the commonest associated disorder. The disease ran a mild course in 12 cases and was severe in only 1. The screening model used in the current study seems a valuable and simple approach for case ascertainment in epidemiological investigations of polyneuropathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-28
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1988


  • Diagnosis
  • Occurrence
  • Peripheral neuropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Clinical Neurology


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