Back to search
Publication

Primary neural leprosy: clinical, neurophysiological and pathological presentation and progression.

Abstract

Disability in leprosy is a direct consequence of damage to the peripheral nervous system which is usually worse in patients with no skin manifestations, an underdiagnosed subtype of leprosy known as primary neural leprosy. We evaluated clinical, neurophysiological and laboratory findings of 164 patients with definite and probable primary neural leprosy diagnoses. To better understand the disease progression and to improve primary neural leprosy clinical recognition we compared the characteristics of patients with short (≤ 12 months) and long (> 12 months) disease duration. Positive and negative symptoms mediated by small-fibre were frequent at presentation (∼95%), and symptoms tend to manifest first in the upper limbs (∼68%). There is a consistent phenotypic variability between the aforementioned groups. Deep sensory modalities were spared in patients evaluated within the first 12 months of the disease, and were only affected in patients with longer disease duration (∼12%). Deep tendon reflexes abnormalities were most frequent in patients with longer disease duration (p < 0,001), as well as motor deficits (p = 0,002). Damage to large fibres (sensory and motor) is a latter event in primary neural leprosy. Grade-2 disability and nerve thickening was also more frequent in cases with long disease duration (p < 0,001). Primary neural leprosy progress over time and there is a marked difference in clinical phenotype between patients with short and long disease duration. Patients assessed within the first 12 months of symptom onset had a non-length-dependent predominant small-fibre sensory neuropathy, whilst patients with chronic disease presented an asymmetrical all diameter sensory-motor neuropathy and patchily decreased/absent deep tendon reflexes.

More information

Type
Journal Article
Author
Tomaselli P
Santos D
Santos A
Antunes D
Marques V
Foss N
Moreira C
Nogueira P
Nascimento O
Neder L
Barreira A
Frade M
Goulart I
Marques W
Year of Publication
2021
Journal
Brain : a journal of neurology
Date Published
10/2021
Language
eng
ISSN Number
1460-2156
DOI
10.1093/brain/awab396
Alternate Journal
Brain
PMID
34664630
Publication Language
eng