Predictors for persistent Neuropathic Pain: a Delphi survey

S. Boogaard, M.W. Heymans, J. Patijn, H.C.W. de Vet, C.G. Faber, M.L. Peters, S.A. Loer, W.W.A Zuurmond, R.S.G.M Perez

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Chronic neuropathic pain has a major effect on quality of life. In order to prevent neuropathic pain from becoming chronic and improve neuropathic pain care, it is important to identify predictors associated with the persistence of neuropathic pain. Objective: To identify potential predictors associated with the persistence of neuropathic pain. Study Design: A 2-round Delphi study. Setting: University Medical Center and Pain Management Research Center Methods: A 2-round Delphi study was conducted among 17 experts in the field of neuropathic pain. Selection of the panel was based on the citation index ranking for neuropathic pain-related research and/or membership in the neuropathic pain special interest group of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), complemented with experts with demonstrated field knowledge. Potential predictors were categorized according to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health model. Participants were asked to identify important predictors, suggest new predictors, and grade the importance on a 0-10 scale. For the second round, predictors were considered important if the median score was ≥ 7 and the interquartile range (IQR) ≤ 3. Results: In the first round, 20 predictors were selected and 58 were added by the experts (patient characteristics [15], environmental factors [25], functions & structure [4], participation & health related quality of life [14]). In the second round, 12 predictors were considered important (patient characteristics [4; e.g., depression, pain catastrophizing], environmental factors [surgery as treatment for neuropathic pain], functions & structure [6; e.g., allodynia, duration of the complaints], participation & trait anxiety/depression as a part of health related quality of life). Presence of depression and pain catastrophizing were considered the most important predictors for chronic neuropathic pain (median ≥ 8;IQR ≤ 2). Limitations: The study design did not include plenary discussion among the experts. The meaning of the individual topics used in this study could have been subject to interpretation bias. Conclusions: Overall, psychological factors and factors related to sensory disturbances were considered important predictors for persistence of neuropathic pain. Activity related factors and previously received paramedical and alternative treatment were considered to be less important. The list of possible predictors obtained by this study may serve as a basis for development of a clinical prediction rule for chronic neuropathic pain. Key words: Neuropathic pain, chronic pain, persistence, Delphi study, opinion, predictors, ICF model.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-568
Number of pages10
JournalPain Physician
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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