“Quantitative CH5424802 cell line sensory testing (QST) is a collection of individual tests designed to assess the somatosensory system, particularly of patients with neuropathic pain or suspected

neurologic disease (Rolke et al 2006b, Shy et al 2003). Pressure algometry, one of the individual QST tests, has previously been discussed in Clinimetrics ( Ylinen 2007); this article focuses on the thermal component of the QST protocol (tQST), which requires the use of a Thermal Sensory Analyser a (TSA) or an Modular Sensory Analyser b (MSA) ( Rolke et al 2006a). The tQST protocol is used to detect cold and warm thresholds, paradoxical heat sensations, and cold and heat pain thresholds (Rolke et al 2006a, Rolke et al 2006b). The most common method for threshold determination is the ‘method of limits’. This involves the patient indicating as soon as he or she detects either a hot or cold stimulus as the strength Selleck VE 821 of the signal gradually increases. Alternatively, depending on the particular test, the patient may indicate when the stimulus is no longer detected as its strength is gradually decreased (Rolke et al 2006a, Shy et al 2003). Clinimetrics: The tQST protocol described by Rolke and colleagues comprises a series of tests

primarily intended to assist with the diagnosis of pain mechanisms, aminophylline for example central sensitisation ( Rolke et al 2006b). Although the individual component tests of the protocol have been previously validated, further studies are needed to evaluate the validity of the complete QST battery ( Rolke et al 2006b). There is also a lack of data on the validity of the tQST protocol to diagnose specific neurological conditions, the absence of which has probably limited the acceptance of tQST in the clinical management of painful conditions ( Backonja et al 2009, Shy et al 2003).

tQST has been found to demonstrate good reproducibility, performed with the method of limits at different test intervals (Heldestad et al 2010). For example coefficients of repeatability (the minimal detectable change between measurements, expressed in C°) between testing on Days 1, 2, and 7 ranged from 0.62 to 1.35 for both warm and cold thresholds. However, as values ranged from 1.64 to 3.14 when heat and cold pain thresholds preceded threshold testing, Heldestad et al (2010) have stressed the importance of conducting thermal threshold testing prior to pain thresholds so that reproducibility is optimised. Significant correlations in tQST results have been found over two days in a sample of chronic pain sufferers and healthy subjects (range r = 0.41 to 0.62) (Agostinho et al 2009).

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