Reliability of static and dynamic quantitative sensory testing in patients with painful chronic pancreatitis.
SourceRegional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, 37, 5, (2012), pp. 530-536
1 september 2012
Article / Letter to editor
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Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine
SubjectNCEBP 2: Evaluation of complex medical interventions NCMLS 3: Tissue engineering and pathology; DCN MP - Plasticity and memory NCEBP 7: Effective primary care and public health
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Quantitative sensory testing (QST) has proven to be an important instrument to characterize mechanisms underlying somatic and neuropathic pain disorders. However, its reliability has not previously been established in patients with visceral pain. We investigated the test-retest reliability of static and dynamic QST in patients with visceral pain due to chronic pancreatitis. METHODS: Sixty-two patients (38 men, 53  y) with painful chronic pancreatitis were included. Static QST comprised sensory thresholds for pressure and electrical stimulation performed in the ventral and dorsal T10 dermatomes (sharing spinal innervation with the pancreas, ie, pancreatic viscerotomes) and in 4 heterologous regions (control areas). Dynamic QST comprised conditioned pain modulation. Measurements were obtained from 2 subsequent test sessions separated by 1 week. RESULTS: The reliability of static QST was generally high, with the best test-retest performance seen for pressure pain thresholds (intraclass correlation coefficients [ICC], 0.74) and electrical sensation thresholds (ICC, 0.66). In contrast, the reliability of dynamic QST was poor (ICC, 0.01). For static QST measures, the reliability was higher for pain thresholds compared with suprapain thresholds (P < 0.01). No differences between assessments in the pancreatic viscerotomes compared with heterologous regions were seen (P = 0.6). CONCLUSIONS: Sensory thresholds in the pancreatic viscerotomes and control areas were reproducible over time. In contrast, dynamic QST measurements reflecting active central modulation of pain processing state (ie, conditioned pain modulation) were not stable over time and showed considerable variability. These factors should be taken into consideration in case QST is used to follow disease mechanisms, drug effects, or effects of pain intervention.
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