A retrospective analysis of nerve function impairment in Hansen's disease cases in the United States National Hansen's Disease Programs
The purpose of this study was to report the extent of Nerve Function Impairment (NFI) in the upper extremity in the Hansen's disease (HD) (Leprosy) population being diagnosed and treated by the National Hansen's Disease Programs. A retrospective cohort of 197, mean age 47 was examined to determine if the amount of NFI, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) Disability Grade, was significantly different at the completion of treatment. The data were also examined to determine the outcome of treatment by ethnicity and geographical region. There was no significant difference (p<0.05) in NFI between initial diagnosis and completion of treatment, by ethnicity or region of the country the patient was treated. The prevalence of NFI in the United States (U.S.) HD population is 35.9%. At the conclusion of treatment, 10.6% of the patients improved, 9.61% became worse and 79.8% remained unchanged. The investigator proposed a more sensitive grading system to detect earlier changes in nerve function.