Electrodiagnostic profile of conduction slowing in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Nizar Souayah, Ankit Pahwa, Mustafa Jaffry, Tejas Patel, Abu Nasar, Zhao Zhong Chong, Howard W. Sander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Since motor nerve conduction slowing can occur due to loss of large axons, we investigate the conduction slowing profile in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and identify the limits beyond which the diagnosis of exclusive axonal loss is unlikely. Methods: First, using linear regression analysis, we established the range of motor conduction slowing in 76 chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) patients. Demyelinating range confidence intervals were defined by assessing conduction velocity (CV), distal latency (DML), and F-wave latency (F) in relation to distal compound muscle action potential (CMAP) amplitude of median, ulnar, fibular, and tibial nerves. Results were subsequently validated in 38 additional CIDP patients. Then, the newly established demyelination confidence intervals were used to investigate the profile of conduction slowing in 95 ALS patients. Results: CV slowing, prolonged DML, and abnormal F were observed in 22.2%, 19.6%, and 47.1% of the studied nerves respectively in ALS patients. When slowing occurred, it affected more than one segment of the motor nerve, suggesting that CMAP amplitude dependent conduction slowing caused by an exclusive loss of large axons is the main mechanism of slowing. No ALS patient had more than 2 nerves with CV slowing in the confidence interval defined by the regression equations or the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) research criteria for CIDP diagnosis. Conclusions: The presence of more than two motor nerves with CV slowing in the demyelinating range defined by the regression analysis or AAN criteria in ALS patients suggests the contribution of acquired demyelination or other additional mechanisms exist in the electrodiagnostic profile of ALS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere18400
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • CMAP
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Conduction slowing
  • Neuropathy


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