Healthcare Utilization

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Lead Author(s): 

Jonathan S. Kirschner, MD, RMSK
Se Won Lee, MD

Supporting Author(s): 

Sylvia I. Watkins-Castillo, PhD

The diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy is made based on clinical presentation, electrodiagnostic studies, blood tests, and occasionally, biopsy. Genetic testing is utilized in hereditary conditions, especially for women in their reproductive years, and for affected family members.1
There is no cure for most peripheral neuropathies, and healthcare resources are typically utilized for symptomatic treatment in outpatient settings, such as pain management, rehabilitation (including physical and occupational therapy), and bracing. Patients with diabetic neuropathy utilize greater healthcare resources and have higher costs than patients with diabetes without neuropathy.2


Nearly 6.4 million healthcare visits in 2013 had a diagnosis of peripheral polyneuropathy, representing 2 in 100 persons in the US. Age is a factor in polyneuropathy, with half (52%) the diagnoses occurring in the 65 and over population. Although males and females had similar rates of diagnosis, females were slightly more likely to have a polyneuropathy diagnosis than males. Because of the small number of diagnoses overall, it is difficult to determine racial/ethnic differences. The western region of the US had a higher share of diagnoses for peripheral polyneuropathy than expected based on population. (Reference Table T6B.1.1 PDF CSV; Table 6B.1.2 PDF CSV; Table 6B.1.3 PDF CSV; and Table 6B.1.4 PDF CSV)

Healthcare Visits                

Using the definition of hereditary polyneuropathy versus acquired, diagnoses were evenly split between the two types. While visits to a physician’s office represented more than half (58%) of all healthcare visits with a peripheral polyneuropathy diagnosis in 2013, the share of hospital discharges with this diagnosis was much higher than that of physician office visits (3.0/100 versus 0.4/100). More than one million hospital discharges had a polyneuropathy diagnosis in 2013. (Reference Table 6B.1.5 PDF CSV)

  • 1. McCorquodale D, Pucillo EM, Johnson NE. Management of Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease: Improving long-term care with a multidisciplinary approach. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare 2016;9:7-19.
  • 2. Sadosky A, et al. Healthcare utilization and costs in diabetes relative to the clinical spectrum of painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy. J Diabetes Complications 2015;29(2):212-7.


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