Complex regional pain syndrome type I of the knee: A systematic literature review

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Abstract

In our Center for Pain Medicine, a group of patients reported to have symptoms possibly attributable to complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) of only the knee(s). Therefore, this study aimed to investigate whether the literature reports on patients with CRPS type I in the knee(s) alone and, if so, to summarize the reported diagnostics, aetiology and treatment strategies of CRPS of the knee(s). Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library, PubMed and Web of Science were searched for articles focusing on a painful disorder of the knee, most likely CRPS type I. Screening on title and abstract was followed by full-text reading and searching of reference lists to determine the final set of relevant articles. Of the 513 articles identified, 31 met the inclusion criteria. These articles reported on a total of 368 patients diagnosed with CRPS of the knee(s) based on the diagnostic criteria used at the time of publication. Knee surgery, especially arthroscopic surgery, was the most common inciting event in developing CRPS of the knee(s). Various treatment strategies were applied with variable outcomes. In conclusion, the scientific literature does report cases of CRPS type I of only the knee(s). This applies when using the diagnostic criteria prevailing at the time of publication and, obviously for a smaller number of cases, also when using the current Budapest criteria set. Arthroscopic knee surgery is described multiple times as the inciting event. We recommend to include CRPS of the knee in future research on the aetiological mechanisms of and optimal treatment for CRPS.

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