Validation of an at-home quantitative sensory testing protocol
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Quantitative sensory testing (QST) is a useful tool in evaluating patients with neuropathic pain. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and taking into consideration the transportation barriers that many chronic pain patients face, there is an increasing need for a valid QST protocol that can be completed at home. This study sought to establish and validate an at-home QST protocol for the evaluation of patients with neuropathic pain. A sample of 18 patients with neuropathic pain who had previously completed the validated bedside QST protocol completed the at-home QST assessment and a series of questionnaires. Bivariate correlations between in person and at home QST measures were assessed using Pearson correlations, and Spearman's rho was applied when variables showed non-normal distributions. Results found that comparable at home QST protocols included punctate hyperalgesia, cold allodynia, cold hyperalgesia, and the cold pain tolerance-time measure. At home tests that did not show strong correlations with previously established beside QST included static mechanical allodynia, dynamic mechanical allodynia, temporal summation of mechanical pain, and the cold pain tolerance- pain rating. This research will be instrumental in testing less mobile participants or those who cannot come to a laboratory site for traditional QST testing and future sensory phenotyping of patients that will move the field toward a more individualized medicine approach.