Complex regional pain syndrome type I in children. Clinical description and quality of life

Orthop Traumatol Surg Res. 2015 Oct;101(6):745-8. doi: 10.1016/j.otsr.2015.06.013. Epub 2015 Sep 8.


Introduction: Complex regional pain syndrome type 1 (CRPS I) in children differs from its adult counterpart and relevant literature is scarce. Our aim was to investigate potential risk factors and to assess midterm outcome and quality of life.

Material and methods: Medical records of patients diagnosed with CRPS I between 2004 and 2012 were analyzed. Patients and parents were called for a phone interview including the PEDS Quality of Life 4-0 questionnaire. Results were compared to a control group matched for age, gender and socio-economic status.

Results: Seventy-three patients were included (64 girls, 9 boys). Mean age at diagnosis was 11.5 years and mean time to diagnosis was 14.2 months. The lower limb was affected in 89% of cases. Allodynia, coldness and cyanosis were noted in 95%, 81% and of 74% of cases, respectively. Forty-nine percent of patients reported a physical injury. Multivariate analysis showed a strong association with being anxious (OR = 44.9, 95% CI [7.4-273]), presence of an atopic background (OR = 25.0, 95% CI: [4.6-135]), being good to excellent school performers (OR = 8.4 95% CI [1.3-52.1]), and having trouble falling asleep (OR = 5.3, 95% CI [1.6-17.0]). At a mean 37 months' follow-up (12-102), PEDS QL 4-0 score was significantly lower in CRPS patients compared to controls. Fifty-seven percent of patients acknowledged healing and 55% had presented a relapse.

Conclusion: Childhood onset CRPS I affects predominantly preadolescent girls at the ankle. The present study highlights the relatively poor outcome, especially its physical and emotional aspects and the large role of psychology.

Level of evidence: IV.

Keywords: Algodystrophy; Child; Chronic pain; Complex regional pain syndrome; Quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndromes / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Time Factors