CIDP

In nursing, we are always learning something new. Sometimes we learn about a new med. Sometimes we learn about a new use for a med. Sometimes it’s a new side effect. Sometimes it’s a disease you weren’t aware of.

As I’m writing this, I just came across a disease I never knew existed: chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy.

Say that five times fast!

I had a patient that had an MRI of the brain and complete spine ordered (that’s at least two hours) and the reason was “CIDP”. I have never come across this abbreviation before so I had to hit up good ol’ Google to find out what it is.

Turned out to be very interesting, at least to me.

What is it?

CIDP is rare. It’s a disorder where there is inflammation in the nerve roots and peripheral nerves. It also destroys the myelin sheath over the nerves. This inflammation and destruction interfere with signal transmission. Patients notice muscle weakness, impaired motor function, and it’s typically noticed on both sides of the body.

How is it diagnosed?

According to the rare disease database put together by NORD (National Organization for Rare Diseases), the symptoms of CIDP progress slowly. Patients notice “symmetric weakness of both muscles around the hip and shoulder as well as of the hands and feet”. These symptoms must continue for at least eight weeks without improvement to be considered CIDP. Patients may also undergo EMG’S, nerve conduction studies, lumbar punctures, and MRI’S to help lead physicians to the diagnosis.

Why do symptoms have to persist for so long, you ask? Great question.

Turns out, Guillain-Barré syndrome is kind of an acute form of inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. With GBS there’s typically a preceding virus or illness. GBS progresses over three or four weeks. The symptoms plateau, get better, and don’t re-occur.

The extended period of time is to differentiate CIDP from the acute forms. With CIDP, the symptoms don’t get better without treatment. GBS is usually related to an illness while CIDP doesn’t really have a known cause yet.

How is it treated?

Corticosteroids and immunosuppresants are the standard treatments. According to the NORD article I linked to, IVIG has also been proven effective. It seems that plasma exchange has also been an effective form of treatment. However, both forms of therapy only last a few weeks and the patient may need intermittent treatments.

I spent about an hour reading about this disease because it was so new to me. That’s something I’m trying to make sure I do, read up and learn about the new things I come in contact with here in the hospital. I know I can’t learn everything. That isn’t going to stop me from trying though!

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4 thoughts on “CIDP

  1. Thank you for sharing awareness for CIDP. I was diagnosed with it at the age of 20. Over the course of 10 months I slowly went paralyzed until I was a quadrapalegic on a ventilator with a feeding tube. All the treatments you mentioned wouldn’t work for me and I ended up doing 6 months of chemotherapy to keep the disease from killing me. The chemo worked and I relearned everything from feeding myself to walking again. I just want you to know that I appreciate that you took the time to educate yourself on a patient’s disease that you didn’t know about. As a chronic patient I can tell you how rare it is for someone in the medical field to do this. I feel like I won the lottery Everytime I talk to anyone in the medical profession who actually knows what CIDP is. Thank you.

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    1. My goodness I’m so glad to hear how you were able to fight back! I spend my time learning because I want to make my patients feel like “they won the lottery”! I feel like it’s our duty in the medical profession to learn as much as we can whenever we can.

      Liked by 1 person

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