CLINICAL RESEARCH
Diagnostic value of clinical deep tendon reflexes in diabetic peripheral neuropathy
Zhen-Fei Li 1, 2,   Xiao-Li Niu 3,   Ling-Ling Nie 4,   Li-Ping Chen 1, 2,   Cui-Fang Cao 1, 2,   Li Guo 1, 2
 
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1
Department of Neurology, The Second Hospital of Hebei Medical University, Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China
2
Key Laboratory of Hebei Neurology, Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China
3
Department of Neurology, Hebei General Hospital, Hebei, China
4
Hebei Maternity Hospital, Hebei, China
Submission date: 2020-05-20
Final revision date: 2020-09-23
Acceptance date: 2020-09-27
Online publication date: 2020-11-06
 
 
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ABSTRACT
Introduction:
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the diagnostic efficacy of different tendon reflexes in detecting diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN).

Material and methods:
According to the changes in tendon reflexes, all patients with diabetes were divided into three strata: impaired Achilles reflex only, impaired lower extremity reflexes, and impaired lower and upper extremity reflexes. Taking nerve conduction studies (NCS) as the gold standard, the sensitivity, specificity, and predictive ability of the tendon reflexes of these three strata, as well as the Toronto clinical scoring system (TCSS) and Michigan Neuropathy Screening Instrument (MNSI), were calculated. Then, the electrophysiological characteristics of diabetic patients with different tendon reflexes were analysed.

Results:
Among the 240 patients studied, 92 (38.3%) presented evidence of neuropathy, which was confirmed by abnormal NCS, while 148 (61.7%) had normal NCS results. Taking NCS as the gold standard, stratum 1 yielded a sensitivity and specificity of 93.5% and 54.7%, respectively, while stratum 3 had higher specificity (96.6%) and lower sensitivity (34.8%) when compared to stratum 1. However, stratum 2 had the highest specificity (75.7%).

Conclusions:
The assessment of tendon reflexes can be proposed as a test for screening diabetic polyneuropathy.

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