Neuropathic Pain in Acute and Subacute Neuropathies: A Systematic Review
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Background: Neuropathic pain (NP) is a common symptom caused by lesions or diseases of the somatosensory nervous system. Acute/subacute peripheral neuropathies (APN) are rare, however can be particularly painful. Objectives: The aim of this systematic review was to estimate the incidence of NP in APN and overview the various etiologies of such neuropathies. Study design: Systematic review. Setting: Medline search. Methods: We hand-searched Medline for observational studies published between 1995 and 2017. Results: Our search strategy identified 1,400 papers. Of these, 70 met our inclusion criteria and were included in this review. Out of a total of 2,341 patients, 1,139 patients were diagnosed with NP (pooled incidence of NP 48.7%). In Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), the commonest cause of APN, the pooled estimate of NP was 34.8%. Other causes of painful APN include immune-mediated, vasculitic, metabolic, nutritional, toxic, paraneoplastic, and infectious. Limitations: An important limitation was that GBS accounted for the majority of patients with APN, as such the calculated incidence reflected mainly this disease entity. Another important limitation was that very few studies targeted primarily NP. Thus, it is highly likely that observational studies reporting NP were missed. Finally there could always be a publication bias due to underreporting and gray literature. Conclusions: NP is a cardinal manifestation of APN. The use of validated diagnostic tools and accepted diagnostic criteria of NP is recommended for both clinical and research purposes. Key words: Neuropathic, pain, acute, subacute, neuropathy, polyneuropathy, frequency, incidence.