Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) is uncommon but important. It can be disabling but is usually treatable, and probably underdiagnosed. The only population-based studies suggest a prevalence of one or two per 100 000 but these are probably underestimates because of lack of referral or recognition of cases (Lunn et al. 1999; McLeod et al. 1999). In our population-based study of 46 patients in the south-east of England, 13% required an aid to walk and 54% were receiving medical treatment on the prevalence date (Lunn et al. 1999). The natural history of untreated disease is not known but two old large series included 7–35% of patients who eventually became bedridden or died from their disease (Dyck et al. 1975; Prineas & McLeod 1976). In a more recent large series, improvement with treatment was only partial, relapses were frequent, and 60% of patients were left with disability or continued
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