Clinical utility of dorsal sural nerve conduction studies

James M. Killian, P. Jay Foreman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


A technique of testing sensory nerve conduction of the dorsal sural nerve in the foot was used in 38 normal subjects and 70 patients with peripheral neuropathies. The normal dorsal sural sensory nerve action potential (SNAP) had a mean amplitude of 8.9 μV (range 5-15 μV), mean latency to negative peak of 4.0 ms (range 3.2-4.7 ms), and mean conduction velocity of 34.8 m/s (range 30-44 m/s). Optimal placement of the recording electrodes to obtain a maximal nerve action potential was proximal to digits 4 and 5. Cooling to below 25°C prolonged the latency but did not decrease the SNAP amplitude. Among the patients with peripheral neuropathy, dorsal sural SNAP was absent in 68 (97%), whereas only 54 (77%) showed abnormalities of sural sensory conduction. The diagnostic sensitivity of sensory nerve conduction studies in peripheral neuropathies may be significantly improved by the use of this technique for evaluating the action potential of the dorsal sural nerve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)817-820
Number of pages4
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Dorsal sural nerve
  • Nerve conduction
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Sural nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)


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