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Papers of the Week

Papers: 25 Nov 2023 - 1 Dec 2023

2023 Dec

Pain Rep




Subtypes of complex regional pain syndrome-a systematic review of the literature.


Knudsen L, Santoro L, Bruehl S, Harden N, Brunner F


To systematically identify and summarize possible subtypes of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), we searched MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane, Scopus, and Web of Science for original studies reporting or investigating at least one subtype within a group of patients with CRPS. The search retrieved 4239 potentially relevant references. Twenty-five studies met our inclusion criteria and were included in the analysis. Complex regional pain syndrome phenotypes were investigated based on the following variables: clinical presentation/sensory disturbances, dystonia, skin temperature, disease duration, onset type, CRPS outcome, and neuropsychological test performance. Support was found for the following CRPS subtypes: CRPS type I, CRPS type II, acute CRPS, chronic CRPS, centralized CRPS, cold CRPS, warm CRPS, inflammatory CRPS, dystonic CRPS, nondystonic CRPS, familial CRPS, and nonfamilial CRPS. It is unclear whether these are distinct or overlapping subtypes. The results of this comprehensive review can facilitate the formulation of well-defined CRPS subtypes based on presumed underlying mechanisms. Our findings provide a foundation for establishing and defining clinically meaningful CRPS subtypes, with the ultimate goal of developing targeted and enhanced treatments for CRPS.