Type I complex regional pain syndrome

Chir Main. 2013 Oct;32(5):269-80. doi: 10.1016/j.main.2013.07.011. Epub 2013 Sep 21.


First described by Ambroise Paré in the mid-17th century complex, regional pain syndrome (CRPS) can be defined as an articular and periarticular pain syndrome associated with vasomotor deregulation triggered by various stresses with no relationship between the intensity of the initial injury and severity of the continuing pain. Several names have been given to Type 1 complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS-I): causalgia, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, shoulder-hand syndrome and algodystrophy. The reported incidence of CRPS-I is about 25 per 100,000. Predisposing factors are tobacco consumption and being female (W/M ratio=4). Although all the limbs can be affected, the upper limb is by far the most affected. CRPS-I is a classic complication of distal radius fractures (4-37%) and carpal tunnel surgery (2-4%). Early diagnosis and management are the most important elements of treatment because this syndrome has a long and disabling course. Some of the proposed treatments include NSAIDs, antidepressants and anticonvulsants. The latter, despite their good analgesic effects, do not cure CRPS-I. In select cases, a surgical procedure aiming at removing a nociceptive stimulus can lead to spectacular improvements.

Keywords: Algodystrophie; Algodystrophy; Complex regional pain syndrome; Pathophysiology; Revue; SDRCI; Syndrome douloureux régional complexe; Treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy* / diagnosis
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy* / therapy