Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) is a disorder that involves nerve swelling and irritation (inflammation) that leads to a loss of strength or sensation.
CIDP is one cause of damage to nerves outside the brain or spinal cord (peripheral neuropathy). Polyneuropathy means several nerves are involved. CIDP often affects both sides of the body.
CIDP is caused by an abnormal immune response. CIDP occurs when the immune system attacks the myelin cover of the nerves. For this reason, CIDP is thought to be an autoimmune disease.
Health care providers also consider CIDP as the chronic form of Guillain-Barré syndrome.
The specific triggers of CIDP vary. In many cases, the cause cannot be identified.
CIDP may occur with other conditions, such as:
Symptoms include any of the following:
Other symptoms that can occur with CIDP include:
The provider will perform a physical exam and ask about the symptoms, focusing on the nervous system and muscles.
Tests that may be ordered include:
Depending on the suspected cause of CIDP, other tests, such as x-rays, imaging scans, and blood tests, may be done.
The goal of treatment is to reverse the attack on the nerves. In some cases, nerves can heal and their function can be restored. In other cases, nerves are badly damaged and cannot heal, so treatment is aimed at preventing the disease from getting worse.
Which treatment is given depends on how severe the symptoms are, among other things. The most aggressive treatment is only given if you have difficulty walking, breathing, or if symptoms don't allow you to care for yourself or work.
Treatments may include:
The outcome varies. The disorder may continue long term, or you may have repeated episodes of symptoms. Complete recovery is possible, but permanent loss of nerve function is not uncommon.
Complications of CIDP include:
Call your provider if you have a loss of movement or sensation in any area of the body, especially if your symptoms get worse.
Reviewed By: Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, Attending Neurologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, SUNY Stony Brook, School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.