Not recognising the presence of decreased excitability may give rise to a seemingly low compound muscle action potential, which may lead erroneously to the conclusion of conduction block. To quantify decreased electrical excitability, stimulation-response curves and the current needed to achieve 90% of the maximal compound muscle action potential amplitude, i90, were obtained in 17 healthy controls, eight patients with Guillain-Barre syndrome, 14 with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, and 10 with hereditary motor sensory neuropathy type I. Decreased electrical excitability was found in patients with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and hereditary motor sensory neuropathy type I, by contrast with patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome. Recognising decreased excitability prevents the false assertion of conduction block and has electrodiagnostic importance for the differential diagnosis of demyelinating polyneuropathies.
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