Painful distal sensory polyneuropathy (DSP) is the most common peripheral neuropathy in patients with human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV- 1) infection. There is no specific therapy for DSP, and nonspecific treatment with pain blockers and narcotic agents generally fails to adequately control the symptoms. We report two patients who had subacute painful neuropathy in the B2 (formerly AIDS-related complex [ARC]) stage of HIV-1 infection. Neurophysiologic studies revealed predominantly axonal sensorimotor neuropathy. Sural nerve biopsy in both cases showed a necrotizing vasculitis. Treatment with corticosteroids resulted in rapid relief of pain, followed by arrest of the neuropathic process. Although not previously emphasized, vasculitic neuropathy must be considered among the treatable causes of painful sensory neuropathy in HIV-1- infected individuals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology