Findings Highlight Need for CRPS Awareness
Both Drs Goebel and Hayek believe that the study findings highlight a need for increased awareness of CRPS. The rarity of the condition, however, makes cultivating awareness among general practitioners difficult, Dr. Goebel pointed out.
“Ideally, [general practitioners] would be aware that if their patient has severe unexplained limb pain, usually post trauma, then consider that CRPS is a rare differential [diagnosis],” Dr Goebel said.
Dr Hayek cautioned that surgeons need to be especially careful when treating post-traumatic or unexplained limb pain.
“Physicians treating patients with CRPS should be very cautious about reoperation on the affected limb — it can rekindle or exacerbate the pain, and necessary precautions such as a preoperative sympathetic block or catheter placement for perioperative pain control are usually indicated,” Dr Hayek said.
“Surgeons considering operating on a painful limb should always have (CRPS) in their differential diagnosis. And, if the indication for surgery is soft, they should probably involve someone else in consultation, such as a pain specialist,” Dr Hayek concluded.
3. Hayek SM, Paige B, Girgis G, et al. Tunneled epidural catheter infections in noncancer pain: increased risk in patients with neuropathic pain/complex regional pain syndrome. Clin J Pain. 2006 Jan;22(1):82-9.