Measurement of electrochemical conductance of penile skin using Sudoscan®: A new tool to assess neurogenic impotence.

To investigate the value of electrochemical skin conductance (ESC) measurement at penile level using Sudoscan® for the diagnosis of neurogenic impotence in diabetics.

The following neurophysiological parameters were assessed in 25 male diabetics who complained of impotence and 25 age-matched normal male subjects without erectile dysfunction (age range: 29-70 years): ESC, sympathetic skin responses (SSR), warm detection thresholds (WDT), and cold detection thresholds (CDT) for the penis and the feet, vibration detection thresholds (VDT) for the penis, and sensory nerve conduction study of the dorsal nerve of the penis (DNP) with sensory nerve action potential (SNAP) recording.

Diabetic patients with impotence differed from controls with regard to most neurophysiological results at both penile and foot levels. Among penile innervation variables in the group of impotent diabetics, penile ESC was found to be the most frequently abnormal (80% of patients), followed by penile WDT, CDT, and DNP-SNAP amplitude (52% of patients), and then penile SSR amplitude and VDT (44% of patients). Various combinations of abnormalities were observed: penile ESC was the only abnormal test in 2 patients, while all tests were abnormal in 2 patients and remained normal in only one patient.

Erectile dysfunction is common in diabetic men, but the diagnosis of a neurogenic origin is challenging. This study showed that ESC measurement using Sudoscan® is feasible and more sensitive than SSR recordings to show penile sympathetic innervation impairment. This new test should be further studied to better define its diagnostic accuracy and clinical correlates.

Neurophysiologie clinique = Clinical neurophysiology. 2017 May 18 [Epub]

Jean-Pascal Lefaucheur

EA 4391, faculté de médecine de Créteil, université Paris Est Créteil, 94010 Créteil, France; Service de physiologie-explorations fonctionnelles, hôpital Henri-Mondor, Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, 94010 Créteil, France. Electronic address: .