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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 Sep 2023 - 29 Sep 2023

Clinical, Methodology, Pediatric, Psychology

Human Studies, Neurobiology

Neuropathic Pain, Psychological/Comorbidities

2023 Sep 21

J Pain


Sensitivity and specificity of a neuropathic screening tool (Self-report Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs, S-LANSS) in adolescents with moderate-severe chronic pain.


Walker SM, Peters J, Verriotis M, Farag F, Jay MA, Howard RF


Neuropathic screening tools improve recognition of neuropathic pain in adults. Although utilized in pediatric populations, the sensitivity, specificity and methodology of screening tool delivery have not been compared in children. We evaluated the Self-Report Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs (S-LANSS) in adolescents (10-18 years) referred to a tertiary pediatric pain clinic. History and examination by specialist clinicians and multidisciplinary assessment informed classification of the primary pain type. In a prospective cohort, scores were obtained at interview (S-LANSS interview; n=161, 70% female), and following substitution of self-reported signs with examination findings in the primary pain region (LANSS-examination). Secondly, we retrospectively retrieved questionnaires self-completed by adolescents at their initial clinic appointment (S-LANSS self-completed; n=456, 73% female). Thirdly, we explored relationships between patient-reported outcomes and S-LANSS scores. S-LANSS interview scores varied with pain classification, and S-LANSS self-completed scores were similarly highest with neuropathic pain (median[IQR]: 18[11,21]) and complex regional pain syndrome (21[14,24]), variable with musculoskeletal pain (13[7,19]) and lowest with visceral pain (6.5[2,11.5]) and headache (8.5[4,14]). As in adults, the cutpoint score of 12/24 was optimal. Sensitivity was highest with inclusion of examination findings and lowest with self-completion (LANSS-examination vs interview vs self-completed: 86.3% vs 80.8% vs 74.7%), but specificity was relatively low (37.8% vs 36.7% vs 48%). High S-LANSS scores in non-neuropathic groups were associated with female sex and high pain catastrophizing. The S-LANSS is a sensitive screening tool for pain with neuropathic features in adolescents, but needs to be interpreted in the context of clinical evaluation. (clinicaltrials.gov NCT03312881) PERSPECTIVE: This article reports high sensitivity of the S-LANSS screening tool for identifying pain with neuropathic features in adolescents with moderate-severe chronic pain. However, as sensitivity is lower than in adult populations, further interdisciplinary evaluation is necessary to inform diagnosis and management.