Background: The syndrome of fixed dystonia includes both CRPS-dystonia and psychogenic dystonia. The underlying mechanisms are unclear, but a high prevalence of neuropsychiatric illness has previously been reported.
Methods: Clinical and neuropsychiatric follow-up study by telephone and self-administered instruments (HADS, SDQ-20, DES II, EQ-5D), on 41 patients with fixed dystonia after a mean of 7.6 (+/-3.6) years.
Results: We obtained information on clinical outcome in 35 (85.4%) patients and neuropsychiatric questionnaire data in 22 (53.7%). Eighty-three percent were women. Thirty-one percent had worsened, 46% were the same and 23% had improved, of whom 6% had major remissions. At follow-up, mean duration of illness was 11.8 (+/-4.9) years and mean age 43.2 (+/-14.8) years. Except for 1 patient who was re-diagnosed with corticobasal degeneration, the diagnosis remained unchanged in others. Forty-one percent had scores indicating anxiety and 18% indicating depression; 18% scored within the range of dissociative/somatoform disorders on DES II and 19% on SDQ-20. The mean EQ-5D index and VAS scores were 0.34 and 56.1%. Comparison between the 3 outcome groups revealed significant difference only in the EQ-5D (p=0.003). Only baseline CRPS predicted a worse outcome (chi(2)=0.006).
Conclusions: Our findings revealed that the prognosis of this syndrome is poor, with improvement in less than 25% of patients, major remission in only 6% and continued worsening in a third. A high rate of neuropsychiatric findings was noted and new neuropsychiatric features had occurred in some. Average health status was poor. Of the baseline parameters, only CRPS predicted poorer outcome.