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Prevalence of self-reported neuropathic pain and impact on quality of life: a prospective representative survey


Burkhard Gustorff
Department of Anesthesiology and General Intensive Care Medicine
University of Vienna
Währinger Gürtel 18 20
A 1090 Vienna


Background: Data on the incidence of neuropathic pain (NeP) in Austria, its general characteristics and consequences for the quality of life (QOL) are still lacking. The prevalence in the United Kingdom is 8%.

Methods: A representative survey (n=7707) was carried out. Patients with NeP were identified using previously validated criteria and subsequently asked to complete a questionnaire on QOL and detailed pain characteristics.

Results: The prevalence of NeP was 3.3% (n=260). A higher prevalence was found in 41–50-year-olds (26%) and 51–60 year olds (24%). Pain was long lasting (>1 year: 66%; >5 years: 41%) and severe at onset (mean 6.8; numerical rating scale) as well as later (mean 4.7; 20% 8 or higher). Strong or predominant restriction of daily activities was reported in 65%, strong or predominant sleep disturbances in 60%, feelings of depression in 34% and anxiety in 25%.

Conclusion: For the first time, data on the prevalence of NeP in Austria are available. Pain patterns in those affected are characteristic and impact on QOL as well as pain intensity are severe.

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