Aaem case report #30: Multifocal motor neuropathy

Gareth J. Parry

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62 Scopus citations


A 73-year-old man with a 16-year history of fasciculations and 15 years of weakness in his right arm was diagnosed with focal motor neuron disease. After 10 years of purely motor symptoms, he developed mild parasthesias although his sensory examination remained normal. Reflexes were reduced or absent in the weak muscles but were normal elsewhere. Nerve conduction was studied in nerves innervating weak muscles and showed severe motor conduction block. Sensory nerve conduction studies were minimally abnormal, showing reduced amplitudes with normal velocities. Based on the clinical picture and the presence of severe motor conduction block, the patient was diagnosed as multifocal motor neuropathy. Treatment with high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin was given with significant improvement in strength and partial resolution of the conduction block. As this case demonstrates, this treatable disorder may occasionally be mistaken for motor neuron disease although the resemblance is only superficial, and it should never be mistaken for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Multifocal motor neuropathy is an inflammatory, demyelinating neuropathy which, like chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), is probably immune-mediated. It differs from typical CIDP by virtue of a marked predilection for motor axons, a strikingly restricted distribution, and a protracted course. Treatment with high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin is frequently helpful, but other forms of immune manipulation are less effective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-276
Number of pages8
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Conduction block
  • GM antibodies
  • Gamma globulin
  • Inflammatory demyelination
  • Multifocal motor neuropathy


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