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Papers: 15 Oct 2022 - 21 Oct 2022

2022 Oct 10


Accuracy of neuropathic pain measurements in patients with symptoms of polyneuropathy: validation of painDETECT, S-LANSS, and DN4.


Dunker Ø, Grotle M, Kvaløy M B, Uglem M, Løseth S, Hjelland I E, Kleggetveit I P, Allen S M, Vigeland M D, Munk Killingmo R, Sand T, Nilsen K B
Pain. 2022 Oct 10.
PMID: 36240023.


Pain is a common symptom in patients referred to polyneuropathy assessment. Diagnostic evaluation and choice of treatment may depend on whether the pain is likely to be neuropathic or not. The present study aimed to investigate the diagnostic accuracy of three tools commonly used to differentiate between neuropathic and non-neuropathic pain. To accomplish this, we included patients with bilateral distal lower extremity pain, referred to neurological outpatient clinics at five Norwegian University hospitals for polyneuropathy assessment. The patients filled in Norwegian versions of painDETECT, the Self-completed Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs (S-LANSS), and the clinician-rated Douleur Neuropathique 4 (DN4). All patients underwent a clinical examination and nerve conduction measurements, and were classified according to the NeuPSIG neuropathic pain criteria (reference standard). In total, 729 patients were included, of which 63% had neuropathic pain by the reference standard. Only DN4 demonstrated high sensitivity (0.87), while all three tools had low specificity (≤0.65). Importantly, the tools' predictive ability was unsatisfactory; The probability of getting a correct test result was three quarters at best, and at worst, no better than two fifths. Consequently, we show that neither DN4, painDETECT nor S-LANSS can be confidently used to assess neuropathic pain in a neurological outpatient population with symptoms of polyneuropathy.