Novel Signs and Their Clinical Utility in Diagnosing Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS): A Prospective Observational Cohort Study

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Abstract

Objectives:

Delays in diagnosis occur with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). We define and prospectively demonstrate that novel bedside tests measuring body perception disruption can identify patients with CRPS postfracture.

Methods:

The objectives of our study were to define and validate 4 bedside tests, to identify the prevalence of positive tests in patients with CRPS and other chronic pain conditions, and to assess the clinical utility (sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value) for identifying CRPS within a Fracture cohort. This was a single UK teaching hospital prospective cohort study with 313 recruits from pain-free volunteers and patients with chronic pain conditions.

Methods:

Four novel tests were Finger Perception (FP), Hand Laterality identification (HL), Astereognosis (AS), and Body Scheme (BS) report. Five questionnaires (Brief Pain Inventory, Upper Extremity Functional Index, Lower Extremity Functional Index, Neglect-like Symptom Questionnaire, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Score) assessed the multidimensional pain experience.

Results:

FP and BS were the best performing tests. Prospective monitoring of fracture patients showed that out of 7 fracture patients (total n=47) who had both finger misperception and abnormal BS report at initial testing, 3 developed persistent pain with 1 having a formal diagnosis of CRPS.

Discussion:

Novel signs are reliable, easy to perform, and present in chronic pain patients. FP and BS have significant clinical utility in predicting persistent pain in a fracture group thereby allowing targeted early intervention.

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