Thermal sensibility was quantitatively assessed in the feet of 46 diabetic patients. In subjects with sensibility deficits the perception threshold for warmth or cold, or of heat pain, was either increased or lost. Four stages of impaired thermal sensibility were defined, and a classification of dysfunction is proposed which could be useful in routine clinical examination of patients with diabetic polyneuropathy. The classification of impaired thermal sensibility correlated significantly with the results of a bedside screening examination aimed at describing the severity of the polyneuropathy in terms of its regional extent.
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