Risk Factors for Post-treatment Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS): An Analysis of 647 Cases of CRPS from the Danish Patient Compensation Association

Pelle B Petersen, Kim Lyngby Mikkelsen, Jes B Lauritzen, Michael R Krogsgaard

35 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: Complex regional pain syndrome is a challenging condition that includes a broad spectrum of sensory, autonomic, and motor features predominantly in extremities recovering from a trauma. Few large-scale studies have addressed occurrence of and factors associated with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) following orthopedic treatment. The present study aimed to identify factors associated with post-treatment development of CRPS.

METHODS: Using the Danish Patient Compensation Association's database, we identified 647 patients claiming post-treatment CRPS between 1992 and 2015. Age, gender, initial diagnosis, treatment, and amount of compensation were extracted. Multivariate logistic regressions were performed to identify variables associated with approval of the claim. For carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) patients, we registered whether symptoms were bilateral or unilateral and if neurophysiology prior to treatment was pathologic.

RESULTS: The following ratios were found: women:men was 4:1, primary diagnosis to the upper limb:lower limb was 2.5:1, and surgical:nonsurgical treatment was 3:1. Mean age was 47.5 ± 13.7 years, and no intergender difference was detected. Antebrachial fracture (23%) and CTS (9%) were the most common primary conditions. Surgical treatment was associated with approval of the claim (odds ratio 3.5, 95% confidence interval 2.3 to 5.3; P < 0.001). Half of CTS patients had normal neurophysiology prior to surgery; among patients with unilateral symptoms, 71.4% had normal neurophysiology.

CONCLUSIONS: Female gender, surgical treatment, and treatment to the upper limb were risk factors. Elective surgery accounted for a large number of post-treatment CRPS patients. In CTS patients developing CRPS, normal neurophysiological examination findings were common, and it could be suspected that these patients were suffering from an pre-clinical stage of CRPS, not CTS.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPain practice : the official journal of World Institute of Pain
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)341-49
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Journal Article


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