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Peripheral Neuropathy in Leprosy: Clinical Manifestations and Disability in a Colombian National Referral Center
Objective: To describe the neurological features of the physical examination in patients with Hansen’s disease who were treated in Bogotá, Colombia.Methods: We carried out a descriptive study of all patients with a Hansen’s disease diagnosis treated at a referral center between 2003-2018.Results: There were 327 eligible electronic health records (EHRs) with a final sample of 282 subjects. Leprosy was most common in males (57.45%), median age at the diagnosis was 54 years, and lesions of the lower limbs were more common (75.1%). The median time from disease onset to consult was 12 months. Most of them were classified as having lepromatous leprosy (39.7%). Pain over the median nerve trunk was the most common manifestation of disease (28%), followed by pain over the radial trunk (22%). Sensitive alterations were more common than motor ones. Specifically, the posterior tibial nerve was affected in nearly half of subjects. Dual impairment was more common in the ulnar nerve (13.8%). Some disability was apparent in 23.8% of subjects; predominantly grade 1 disability.Conclusion: Findings regarding age, leprosy type, and the frequency of individual nerve compromise were consistent with reports from other countries. Nerve trunk thickening was infrequent, which might be a consequence of subjectiveness in the examination and sample differences in sex distribution, degree of disability and time since disease onset. The frequency of morbidity and disability found in this sample, though low when compared with other series, fails to meet public health goals, including those limiting disability in younger subjects.
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