The Misdiagnosis of CIDP: A Review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


There is a growing realization that many patients are incorrectly diagnosed with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), with at least half of patients that carry a diagnosis of CIDP in the USA possibly having a different explanation for their neuropathy or having no neuropathy at all. Many misdiagnosed patients go on to receive costly and potentially harmful treatments for a disease that they do not have, while at the same time missing an opportunity to treat their true ailment. The cost of misdiagnosis on patients and society is not trivial. Many factors contribute to misdiagnosis. Particular points of vulnerability include the evaluation of “atypical” CIDP, interpretation of equivocal nerve conduction studies, over-reliance on elevations in cerebrospinal fluid protein concentration in indeterminate ranges, and placing excessive diagnostic weight on subjective changes following the initiation of immunotherapy. In addition to heighted awareness of the challenges, adherence to CIDP diagnostic guidelines, utilization of objective metrics to document clinical change, and referrals to CIDP centers of excellence are strategies that may improve diagnostic accuracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-54
Number of pages12
JournalNeurology and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
No funding or sponsorship was received for this study or publication of this article. The author meets the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) criteria for authorship for this article, takes responsibility for the integrity of the work as a whole, and has given his approval for this version to be published. Jeffrey A. Allen has provided consulting services to Akcea, Alexion, Argenyx, CSL Behring, Biotest, Kaba Infusions and Momenta. This article is based on previously conducted studies and does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the author. Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analyzed during the current study. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits any non-commercial use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).


  • CIDP
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Neuropathy


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