What Is Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)?

CIDP is a neuromuscular disorder characterized by progressive weakness and impaired sensory function in the legs and arms. It is an autoimmune neuropathy usually caused by damage to the myelin sheath (the insulation covering the nerve and protecting the underlying nerve fibers) of the peripheral nerves.

Diagnosis of Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)

Diagnosing neuromuscular illness can be a complex process. A broad range of diseases can affect nerves and muscles, and often produce similar symptoms, such as weakness and numbness. Penn's Neuromuscular Disorders Program offers consultations and comprehensive neurodiagnostic studies to help with difficult diagnosis. A Penn neuromuscular specialist reviews the complete medical history, and performs a comprehensive neuromuscular examination, of each patient. When appropriate, our specialists use our technologically advanced neurodiagnostic facilities.

Diagnostic testing includes:

  • Biochemical and genetic testing
  • Computerized tomography (CT)
  • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Nerve and muscle biopsy
  • Nerve conduction studies and electromyography (EMG)

Treatment at Penn

The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania serves as one of 12 sites in the United Stated designated as a GBS/CIDP Center of Excellence by the GBS/CIDP Foundation International. Based on levels of expertise, available treatments, facilities, and research capabilities these medical centers have been designated as regional centers of excellence.

Effective treatments for CIDP include corticosteroids (such as prednisone) or intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG). Less commonly, plasma exchange (plasmapheresis) is used. These treatments may be prescribed alone or in combination with other immunosuppressant drugs. Physical therapy plays an important role in combination with the medical treatments. Physical therapy may help with improvement in muscle strength, as well as overall function and mobility.

Penn Programs & Services for Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)

Neuromuscular Disorders

Our neuromuscular disorders program provides the latest advancements in the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment for all types of neuromuscular disorders, such as ALS, Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and muscular dystrophies.

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