Publication details

Reproducibility of thermal threshold assessment in small-fibre neuropathy patients



Year of publication 2005
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Scripta medica
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Medicine

Field Neurology, neurosurgery, neurosciences
Keywords Sensory thresholds; polyneuropathies; reproducibility of results; small fibre; quantitative thermal threshold
Description To evaluate the test-retest reproducibility of thermal threshold testing (TTT) in small-fibre neuropathy (SFN) patients. Methods: Thermal thresholds for cold (CP) and warm (WP) perception were repeatedly evaluated over a period of 1 week in a group of 58 SFN patients and in 30 healthy volunteers. Thermal thresholds were established in the hand and foot using 3 different algorithms. The coefficients of repeatability (CR) (expressed as 2 multiple of SDdif calculated as, where n represents the number of all measurements) varied between 0.72 and 1.5 degrees of Centigrade in the hand and between 2.2 and 3.7 degrees of Centigrade in the foot in healthy volunteers and SFN patients respectively. The reproducibility of all the tests in the hand and of CP tests in the foot was higher in healthy volunteers in comparison with SFN patients. Thermal threshold values in both SFN patients and healthy volunteers showed higher reproducibility in the hand compared with those in the foot. Cold threshold values obtained from the foot in the SFN group showed lower reproducibility compared to the warm threshold ones, while the opposite difference was found in healthy subjects. The method of levels displayed higher reproducibility of cold thresholds in both groups in comparison with the method of limits. If TTT is intended for use as a method of longitudinal assessment of small-fibre nerve function, different limits for the incidental (i.e. non-significant) intraindividual change of thermal threshold should be used for patients with and without disturbed thermal perception. The modality tested, type of the test, and tested region may well display a significant impact on the reproducibility of thermal threshold values.
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