Uremic Neuropathy

  • Viggo Kamp Nielsen


Uremic neuropathy was fully recognized in the 19th century, and detailed descriptions of its clinical picture and pathology were given by, among others, Kussmaul.(59) Lanceraux(60) was the first to apply the modern term polynévrite urémique, in his thesis of 1887, “Troubles nerveux de l’urémie.” By the end of the century, uremic polyneuropathy had entered medical textbooks, but only to disappear again after 1909.(81) During the following five decades, it was apparently forgotten by nephrologists and neurologists. In 1963, uremic neuropathy was rediscovered by Asbury et al.(2) This was at a time when long-term intermittent dialysis treatment was newly invented in the management of terminal chronic renal failure. The “new” neuropathy aroused a deep concern in dialysis centers all over the world, being regarded as a complication to the dialysis procedure as such. The general experience was that of a patient, otherwise well adapted to dialysis, who suddenly developed the picture of progressive sensorimotor polyneuropathy, which might eventually lead to complete physical incapacity. During the subsequent decade intensive research was initiated, and clinical, pathological, and electrophysiological features of the neuropathy were outlined in great detail. As a result, uremic neuropathy was reinstated as an integral part of the uremic syndrome, since evidence of peripheral nerve dysfunction could be demonstrated in most patients with end-stage chronic renal failure before regular dialysis was instituted.


Chronic Renal Failure Conduction Velocity Nerve Conduction Nerve Conduction Velocity Uremic Patient 
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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Viggo Kamp Nielsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Neuromuscular Laboratory, Department of NeurologyUniversity of Pittsburgh, School of MedicinePittsburghUSA

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