Quantitative sensory testing of persistent pain after video-assisted thoracic surgery lobectomy

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Background Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) lobectomy may potentially reduce the risk of post-thoracotomy pain syndrome (PTPS). However, it may still carry a risk of intraoperative nerve damage and thereby development of PTPS. Thus, our aim was to present a detailed long-term neurophysiological characterization of PTPS after VATS.

Methods Quantitative sensory testing, using thermal and mechanical stimuli, was performed in 13 PTPS patients and 35 pain-free patients recruited 33 months after VATS lobectomy.

Results When comparing the operated side with the control side in PTPS patients, increased thresholds of tactile and warmth detection were observed, while in pain-free patients, increased thresholds of warmth detection, cool detection, and heat pain were demonstrated. At the anterior porthole, pain-free patients displayed increased threshold to thermal detection when compared with the control side. Only side-to-side difference for tactile detection threshold was increased in PTPS patients compared with pain-free patients. Assessment of central sensitization showed no significant differences within or between PTPS and pain-free patients nor did group comparison of area of hypo- and hyperaesthesia to cool. Anxiety and depression scores (HADS) were higher in PTPS patients, but the area of hyper- and hypoaesthesia did not differ significantly between HADS groups.

Conclusions Increased sensory thresholds suggest nerve injury to be present on the operated side in both PTPS and pain-free patients. However, no significant quantitative differences between PTPS and pain-free patients could be found, implicating the presence of factors other than intercostal nerve injury as important for development of PTPS after VATS lobectomy.
TidsskriftBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
Vol/bind 108
Sider (fra-til)126-33
StatusUdgivet - 2011

ID: 49813930