AbstractBackgroundPain after surgery is not uncommon with 30% of patients reporting moderate to severe postoperative pain. Early identification of patients prone to postoperative pain may be a step forward towards individualized pain medicine providing a basis for improved clinical management through treatment strategies targeting relevant pain mechanisms in each patient. Assessment of pain processing by quantitative sensory testing (QST) prior to surgery has been proposed as a method to identify patients at risk for postoperative pain, although results have been conflicting. Since the last systematic review, several studies investigating the association between postoperative pain and more dynamic measures of pain processing like temporal summation of pain and conditioned pain modulation have been conducted.ObjectivesAccording to the PRISMA guidelines, the aim of this systematic review was to evaluate whether assessment of experimental pain processing including measures of central pain mechanisms prior to surgery was associated with pain intensity after surgery.MethodsSystematic database searches in PubMed and EMBASE with the following search components: QST, association, and postoperative pain, for studies that assessed the association between QST and pain after surgery were performed. Two authors independently reviewed all titles and abstracts to assess their relevance for inclusion. Studies were included if (1) QST was performed prior to surgery, (2) pain was assessed after surgery, and (3) the association between QST and pain after surgery was investigated. Forty-four unique studies were identified, with 30 studies on 2738 subjects meeting inclusion criteria. The methodological quality of the include studies was assessed and data extraction included study population, type of surgery, QST variables, clinical pain outcome measure and main result.ResultsMost studies showed moderate to high risk of bias. Type of surgery investigated include 7 studies on total knee replacement, 5 studies on caesarean section, 4 studies on thoracic surgery, 2 studies on herniotomy, 2 studies on hysterectomy/myomectomy, 1 study on tubal ligation, 1 study on gynecologic laparoscopy, 1 study on arthroscopic knee surgery, 1 study on shoulder surgery, 1 study on disc herniation surgery, 1 study on cholecystectomy,1 study on percutaneous nephrolithotomy,1 study on molar surgery, 1 study on abdominal surgery, and 1 study on total knee replacement and total hip replacement. The majority of the preoperative QST variables showed no consistent association with pain intensity after surgery. Thermal heat pain above the pain threshold and temporal summation of pressure pain were the QST variables, which showed the most consistent association with acute or chronic pain after surgery.ConclusionsQST before surgery does not consistently predict pain after surgery. High quality studies investigating the presence of different QST variables in combination or along with other pain-related psychosocial factors are warranted to confirm the clinical relevance of QST prior to surgery.ImplicationsAlthough preoperative QST does not show consistent results, future studies in this area should include assessment of central pain mechanisms like temporal summation of pressure pain, conditioned pain modulation, and responses to pain above the pain threshold since these variables show promising associations to pain after surgery.
Scandinavian Journal of Pain – de Gruyter
Published: Apr 1, 2017
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