A review of the current evidence on the sensitivity and specificity of the Ipswich touch test for the screening of loss of protective sensation in patients with diabetes mellitus

Abstract

Aims

To evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of the Ipswich touch test for the screening of loss of protective sensation in patients with diabetes mellitus based on the current literature.

Methods

Three electronic databases were searched for eligible studies that investigated the sensitivity and specificity of the Ipswich touch test. Methodological quality was assessed using the QUADAS-2 tool.

Results

Five studies that reported the sensitivity and specificity of the Ipswich touch test were included. When compared to the 10 g monofilament, the sensitivity ranges from 51 to 83.3% and the specificity ranges from 96.4 to 98%. When compared to the vibration perception test ≥25 V, Ipswich touch test sensitivity ranges from 76 to 100% and specificity ranges from 90 to 96.6%.

Conclusions

The Ipswich touch test has a high specificity in screening for loss of protective sensation in the feet of patients with diabetes mellitus. It is a useful test to be included in diabetic foot screenings, especially when other sensory tools are not available. However, more rigorous studies need to be conducted as there is currently only a limited pool of research evidence to substantiate it as a screening tool for loss of protective sensation in the diabetic foot.

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Correspondence to Arnold Hu.

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Hu, A., Koh, B. & Teo, M.R. A review of the current evidence on the sensitivity and specificity of the Ipswich touch test for the screening of loss of protective sensation in patients with diabetes mellitus. Diabetol Int (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13340-020-00451-9

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Keywords

  • Ipswich touch test
  • Sensitivity and specificity
  • Diabetic peripheral neuropathy
  • Diabetic foot screening
  • Loss of protective sensation