Technology literature review: quantitative sensory testing

Muscle Nerve. 2004 May;29(5):734-47. doi: 10.1002/mus.20053.


The development of the personal computer has simplified the process of quantitating sensory thresholds using various testing algorithms. We reviewed the technical aspects and reproducibility of different methods to determine threshold for light touch-pressure, vibration, thermal, and pain stimuli. Clinical uses and limitations of quantitative sensory testing (QST) were also reviewed. QST is a reliable psychophysical test of large- and small-fiber sensory modalities. The results of QST are highly dependent on methodology and the full cooperation of the subject. QST has been shown to be reasonably reproducible over a period of days or weeks in normal subjects. The use of QST in research and patient care should be limited to instruments and their corresponding methodologies that have been shown to be reproducible. Literature data do not allow conclusions regarding the relative merits of individual QST instruments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Electrodiagnosis / methods*
  • Electrodiagnosis / standards*
  • Humans
  • Neural Conduction / physiology
  • Neurologic Examination / methods*
  • Neurologic Examination / standards*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensation Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Sensation Disorders / physiopathology
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology*