Fibromyalgia: a primer for the anesthesia community


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Abstract

Purpose of reviewThe present review is intended to give an overview of fibromyalgia for the anesthesiologist. While the basics of the treatment of fibromyalgia are included, the intent is to provide context to discuss the potential implications in perioperative management.Recent findingsResearch continues to demonstrate that fibromyalgia patients have neurophysiologic abnormalities that alter sensory perception, including lower levels of central neurotransmitters associated with the inhibition of pain and higher levels those that facilitate pain. While comorbid mood disorders are more common in fibromyalgia patients, studies have shown that fibromyalgia symptoms are not explained by depression alone. In the last year, the American College of Rheumatology established a new self-report questionnaire for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia in lieu of the previously required tender point examination plus self-report questionnaire. This questionnaire allows for the study of the severity of sensitivity and symptomatology on a continuum, which is termed ‘fibromyalgianess’. Some new concepts in the treatment have been proposed, including sodium oxybate, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and web-based cognitive behavioral therapy.SummaryThe impact of fibromyalgia on anesthesia care is not known. Years of quality research have clearly demonstrated multiple pathophysiologic changes that could impact anesthesia care and future study is needed.

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