What is a meaningful pain reduction in patients with complex regional pain syndrome type 1?

Tymour Forouzanfar, Wilhelm E.J. Weber, Marius Kemler, Maarten Van Kleef

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Objective: To investigate the degree of pain reduction in patients with complex regional pain syndrome type I (CRPS 1) that can be defined as "successful." Design: All patients rated their pain on a visual analog scale (VAS; 0-10) before treatment and on three occasions after treatment, at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years. Patients also rated a Global Perceived Effect (GPE) for their pain relief at the same time periods. The GPE items were classified as "successful" or "unsuccessful." The mean absolute and relative pain reduction (using the VAS) was calculated for both "successful" and "unsuccessful" GPE classifications for each time period. Sensitivity and specificity analyses were performed. Patients: Sixty-one patients with CRPS 1. Results: The patients defined a relative pain reduction of 58% (SD, 23.4) or more as "successful," whereas in "successful" and "unsuccessful" patient groups the pain was reduced significantly on the VAS. Furthermore, sensitivity and specificity analyses showed that a cut-off point of 50% relative pain reduction and a 3-cm absolute pain reduction on the VAS have the highest likelihood that patients will report their treatment "successful" on the GPE. Conclusions: Relative pain reduction of 50% or more and an absolute pain reduction of at least 3 cm on the VAS are accurate in predicting a successful pain reduction after a given treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-285
Number of pages5
JournalClinical journal of pain
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Complex regional pain syndrome type 1
  • Global Perceived Effect
  • Relative pain reduction
  • Visual analog scale

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