Published: 2016-12-24

Influence of tobacco on median and ulnar nerve in the population of South Rajasthan

Suman Sharma, Chanchal Shrivastav, M. L. Suhalka, Manjinder Kaur


Background: Chemicals present in tobacco have been implicated in causing subclinical changes in myelin sheaths of peripheral nerves. This may contribute to nerve dysfunction particularly in the form of decreases in nerve conduction velocity. So, present study aims to measure nerve conduction velocity in the median nerve and ulnar nerve among tobacco users.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional case-control study involving 50 normal healthy subjects and 150 tobacco users. The nerve conduction study was performed using fully computerized electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV) machine. By this machine Sensory nerve conduction velocity (SNCV) and Motor nerve conduction velocity (MNCV) tests of both the nerves (median and ulnar) was performed on subjects. Data was analyzed by using appropriate statistical methods.

Results: In our study statistically significant changes (P < 0.001) were found in the Sensory nerve conduction velocity of both the nerves whereas no such changes were found in Motor nerve conduction velocity of both the nerves in tobacco users as compared to nontobacco users.

Conclusions: We conclude that use of tobacco results in reduction of conduction velocities in sensory fibers of the median nerve and ulnar nerve but not in motor fibers.


Nerve conduction study, NCV, MNCV, SNCV, Tobacco

Full Text:



Awang MS, Abdulla JM, Abdulla MR, Tharakan J, Prasad A, Hussain ZA, et al. Nerve conduction study among healthy Malays. The influence of age, height and body mass index on median, ulnar, common paroneal and sural nerves. Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences. 2006;13(2):19-23.

Sachin MP, Avinash BT, Singh R. Effect of body mass index on parameters of nerve conduction study in Indian population. IJPP. 2012;56(1):88-5.

Stetson DS, Albers JW, Silverstein AB, Wolfe RA. Effects of age, sex, and anthropometric factors on nerve conduction measures. Muscle & Nerve. 1992;15:1095-9.

Thakur D, Paudel BH, Jha CB. Nerve Conduction study in healthy individuals a preliminary age based study. Kathmandu Univ Med J. 2010;8(31):311-6.

Rani M, Bonu S, Jha P, Nguyen SN, Jamjoum L. Tobacco use in India: prevalence and predictors of smoking and chewing in a national cross sectional household survey. Tob Control. 2003;12:4.

Richardson JK, Jamieson SC. Cigarette smoking and ulnar mononeuropathy at the elbow. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2004;83(9):730-4.

Gokhan A, Aydan C, Ahmet EE, Fievket D, Ayfle O, Hakan E. Electromyographic evaluation of peripheral nerves in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Turkish Respiratory Journal. 2003;4(2):51-6.

Pasupathi P, Saravanan G, Farook J. Oxidative stress bio markers and antioxidant status in cigarette smokers compared to nonsmokers. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research. 2009;1(2):16-5.

Gerhard S. Carboxyhemoglobin and thiocyanate as biomarkers of exposure to carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide in tobacco smoke. Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology. 2006;58(2-3):1101-23.

Nowak D, BrĂ¼ch M, Arnaud F, Fabel H, Kiessling D, Nolte D, et al. Peripheral neuropathies in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a multicenter prevalence study. Lung 1990;168: 43-8.

Faden A, Mendeza E, Flynn F. Subclinical neuropathy associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, possible pathophysiologic role of smoking : Arch Neurol. 1981;38:639-42.

Ijzerman RG, Serne EH, Van Weissenbruch MM, de Jongh RT, Stehouwer CD. Cigarette smoking is associated with an acute impairment of microvascular function in humans: Clinical Science. 2003;104:247-5.

Arthur KA, David RC. Assessment of current diagnostic criteria for Guillain-Barre syndrome. Annals of Neurology. 1990;27(1):S21-4.

Tayade MC, Kulkarni NB. Effect of smoking on cardiovascular autonomic function test and nerve conduction velocity: cross sectional study in Indian population. IJBAMR. 2014;3:446-7.