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Neurophysiologic abnormalities in children with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A

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Although Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A (CMT1A) initially manifests in the first decade, there are no large studies describing its neurophysiologic features in childhood. We report neurophysiologic findings in 80 children aged 2–16 years with CMT1A who underwent median motor and sensory nerve conduction studies. Neurophysiologic abnormalities were present in all children. Median motor nerve conduction velocity was invariably less than 33 m/s (mean 18.7 m/s, range 9.0–32.9 m/s), with conduction velocities significantly slower in children aged 7–16 years compared with children aged 6 years and below. All children had prolonged distal motor latencies (mean 7.3 ms, range 4.0–12.3 ms). The compound muscle action potential (CMAP) amplitude was reduced from an early age (mean 7.1 mV, range 2.1–13.5 mV), and its normal increase with age was attenuated. Median sensory responses were present in only seven children, all aged less than 9 years and with slowed sensory conduction. Neurophysiologic abnormalities are present in all children with CMT1A from the age of 2 years. Motor conduction slowing progresses through the first 6 years of life and thereafter remains stable. CMAP amplitude is reduced from an early age, and the normal physiologic increase with age is attenuated. Median sensory responses may be recorded in younger children, and their presence does not exclude the diagnosis of CMT1A.
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Keywords: Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease; electromyography; pediatric; peripheral neuropathy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Children’s Neuroscience Centre, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria 2: Institute for Neuromuscular Research, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead/Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Sydney, New South Wales

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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