A QST-based Pain Phenotype in Adults With Sickle Cell Disease: Sensitivity and Specificity of Quality Descriptors

Pain Pract. 2020 Feb;20(2):168-178. doi: 10.1111/papr.12841. Epub 2019 Oct 18.


Background: We sought to refine a screening measure for discriminating a sensitized or normal sensation pain phenotype among African American adults with sickle cell disease (SCD).

Objective: To develop scoring schemes based on sensory pain quality descriptors; evaluate their performance on classifying patients with SCD who had sensitization or normal sensation, and compare with scores on the Self-report Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs (S-LANSS) and the Neuropathic Pain Symptom Inventory (NPSI).

Methods: Participants completed PAINReportIt, quantitative sensory testing (QST), S-LANSS, and NPSI. Conventional binary logistic regression and least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (lasso) regression were used to obtain 2 sets of weights resulting in 2 scores: the PR-Logistic (PAINReportIt score weighted by conventional binary logistic regression coefficients) and PR-Lasso (PAINReportIt score weighted by lasso regression coefficients). Performance of the proposed scores and the existing scores were evaluated.

Results: Lasso regression resulted in a parsimonious model with non-zero weights assigned to 2 neuropathic descriptors, cold and spreading. We found positive correlations between the PR-Lasso and other scores: S-LANSS (r = 0.22, P < 0.01), NPSI (r = 0.22, P < 0.01), and PR-Logistic (r = 0.35, P < 0.01). The NPSI and PR-Lasso performed similarly at different levels of required specificity and outperformed the S-LANSS and PR-Logistic at the various specificity points.

Conclusion: The PR-Lasso offers a way to discriminate a SCD pain phenotype.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology
  • Aged
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / diagnosis*
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / epidemiology
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuralgia / diagnosis*
  • Neuralgia / epidemiology
  • Neuralgia / psychology
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Pain Measurement / standards*
  • Pain Perception / physiology*
  • Phenotype*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Report / standards
  • Self-Assessment