Quantitative Thermal Perception Testing in 225 Children and Juveniles

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Quantitative Thermotesting evaluates peripheral small nerve fiber function. The method of limits is a widely used algorithm of perception threshold determination. Normative data are needed to apply the method of limits in children and juveniles. In 225 healthy boys and girls, aged 7 to 17.9 years, warm and cold perception thresholds were established with the method of limits at the volar distal forearm, the thenar eminence, the lower medial calf, the lateral dorsal foot, and the cheek. A 1°C/s stimulus velocity, a 32°C thermode baseline, and a 1.5-cm × 2.5-cm Thermotest stimulator were used. Accuracy of stimulus perception was studied by comparing the lowest to the highest response of five consecutive stimuli. The influence of different stimulator sizes on thresholds was tested at the lower calf and distal forearm with an additional 2.5-cm × 5.0-cm thermode. To determine the impact of the pretest skin temperature on thresholds, skin temperature was correlated with thresholds. Results showed good intratrial reproducibility of thresholds. The large thermode yielded lower thresholds than the small probe. Skin temperature had only minor influence on thresholds. The large probe should be used at body sites where it adjusts planely.

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