Objective: Prevalence and clinical characteristics of neuropathic pain due to traumatic brachial plexus injury. Design: Observational epidemiological study. Setting: Hospital-based multicenter study. Subjects: One hundred seven prospectively enrolled patients with brachial plexus injury. Methods: All the patients underwent clinical examination and neurophysiological testing for a definitive diagnosis of the brachial plexus lesion. The DN4 questionnaire was used to identify neuropathic pain, and the Neuropathic Pain Symptom Inventory (NPSI) to evaluate the different symptoms of neuropathic pain. The SF36 questionnaire and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were used to assess quality of life and mood disturbances in patients with neuropathic pain. Results: Of the 107 enrolled patients, 74 had pain (69%); neuropathic pain, as assessed by means of the DN4, was identified in 60 (56%) of these patients. According to the NPSI, the most frequent and severe pain type was the spontaneous burning pain. Clinical and neurophysiological findings showed that pain is unrelated to age but is associated with the severity of peripheral nerve damage. The SF36 questionnaire and BDI showed that neuropathic pain impairs quality of life and causes depression. Conclusions: Our study provides information on the prevalence, characteristics, and variables associated with neuropathic pain due to traumatic brachial plexus injuries that might provide a basis for improving the clinical management of this condition.
- Brachial Plexopathy
- Neuropathic Pain