There is a need for reliable and valid clinical assessment tools for quantifying allodynia in neuropathic pain. Allodynography has been proposed as a useful standardized procedure for clinical assessment of mechanical allodynia. This study (www.clinicaltrials.gov NCT02070367) undertook preliminary investigation of the measurement properties of allodynography, a new standardized clinical examination procedure for mapping the area of cutaneous allodynia.
Persons with pain in one upper extremity after complex regional pain syndrome, a peripheral nerve injury, or who had recently experienced a hand fracture were recruited for assessment of static mechanical allodynia (based on perception of a 15g force stimulus delivered by Semmes-Weinstein monofilament #5.18 as painful) by two raters at baseline; the assessment was repeated one week later.
Single-measures estimates suggested inter-rater reliability for allodynography was excellent at an intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) of 0.97 (N = 12); test–retest reliability was also excellent at ICC = 0.89 (N = 10) for allodynography (P < 0.001 for both). Confidence intervals’ lower bounds confirm inter-rater reliability as excellent (0.90) but were less definitive for test–retest (0.59).
This preliminary study supports the inter-rater and test–retest reliability of allodynography. Studies on larger samples in multiple contexts and reporting other measurement properties are warranted.