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Pain. 2005 May;115(1-2):204-11.

Patients initially diagnosed as 'warm' or 'cold' CRPS 1 show differences in central sensory processing some eight years after diagnosis: a quantitative sensory testing study.

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Department of Anaesthesiology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


We used quantitative sensory testing (QST) to gain further insight into mechanisms underlying pain in CRPS 1. Specific goals were: (1) to identify altered patterns of sensory processing some 8 years after diagnosis, (2) to document differences in sensory processing between 'warm' and 'cold' diagnostic subgroups, (3) to determine relationships between changed sensory processing and disease progression regarding pain. The study was performed on a cohort of patients (n=47) clinically diagnosed with CRPS 1 of one upper extremity approximately 8 years previously. Pain was quantified by VAS and MacGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ), and all subjects underwent electrical and mechanical QST. Cold patients (n=13) had poorer MPQ scores than warm ones (n=34), and more pain on electrical stimulation. Their evoked pain increased with disease progression and correlated with clinical pain measures. For both diagnostic subgroups, thresholds to pressure pain were lower on the affected extremity and with disease progression. Eight years after original diagnosis, cold CRPS 1 patients have poorer clinical pain outcomes and show persistent signs of central sensitisation correlating with disease progression. The latter is not the case for warm CRPS 1 patients. Both diagnostic subgroups show greater pressure hyperalgesia on the affected limb and with disease progression. QST may prove useful in the subdiagnosis of CRPS 1 and in quantifying its progression, with both applications warranting further investigation for clinical and research use.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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