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Papers: 16 Dec 2023 - 22 Dec 2023

2023 Dec 15



A systematic review of the prevalence of postamputation and chronic neuropathic pain associated with combat injury in military personnel.


Kumar A, Soliman N, Gan Z, Cullinan P, Vollert J, Rice ASC, Kemp H


Combat trauma can lead to widespread tissue damage and limb loss. This may result in chronic neuropathic and post amputation pain, including phantom limb pain (PLP) and residual limb pain (RLP). The military population is distinct with respect to demographic, injury, and social characteristics compared with other amputation and trauma cohorts. We undertook a systematic review of studies of military personnel, with a history of combat injury, that reported a prevalence of any type of postamputation pain or chronic neuropathic pain, identified from Embase and MEDLINE databases.Using the inverse variance method with a random-effects model, we undertook a meta-analysis to determine an overall prevalence and performed exploratory analyses to identify the effect of the type of pain, conflict, and time since injury on prevalence. Pain definitions and types of pain measurement tools used in studies were recorded. Thirty-one studies (14,738 participants) were included. The pooled prevalence of PLP, RLP, and chronic neuropathic pain were 57% (95% CI: 46-68), 61% (95% CI: 50-71), and 26% (95% CI: 10-54), respectively. Between-study heterogeneity was high (I2: 94%-98%). Characterisation of duration, frequency, and impact of pain was limited. Factors reported by included studies as being associated with PLP included the presence of RLP and psychological comorbidity. The prevalence of postamputation pain and chronic neuropathic pain after combat trauma is high. We highlight inconsistency of case definitions and terminology for pain and the need for consensus in future research of traumatic injury.