Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy and anesthesia: a case series

Andrew R. Mortenson, Juraj Sprung, James C. Watson, P. James B. Dyck, Toby N. Weingarten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) is an acquired autoimmune demyelinating polyneuropathy characterized by symmetrical diffuse weakness that also can rarely affect bulbar and respiratory muscles. The study objective was to describe perioperative outcomes of patients with CIDP who received general anesthesia. This retrospective observational study evaluated patients with active (diagnosed or treated within the previous year) CIDP who underwent general anesthesia at our institution between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2015. Medical records were reviewed for perioperative outcomes with emphasis on respiratory complications or unexpected reactions to muscle relaxants. Seventeen patients with CIDP underwent general anesthesia, of whom 16 had muscle weakness. Succinylcholine was used in 5 cases (29.4%) and nondepolarizing muscle relaxants in 11 cases (64.7%). Two patients required postoperative mechanical ventilation; one was critically ill and the other had open heart surgery. One patient had aspiration on the second postoperative day and required endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation for 3 days. Three patients had worsening CIDP symptoms: 1 acutely after surgery; 1 several months later; and 1 who died in the hospital. The patient who died underwent lengthy abdominal exploration, had acute worsening of neurologic symptoms, and died after 46 days of malnutrition. Anesthetic concerns of patients with CIDP include frailty, bulbar dysfunction, and the effects of immunosuppressive therapy. Although our patients tolerated neuromuscular drugs, substantial theoretical concerns with these medications in patients with demyelinating neuropathies preclude safety in this population without further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)895-901
Number of pages7
JournalActa Neurologica Belgica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy
  • General anesthesia
  • Perioperative complications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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