Pain and autonomic dysfunction in patients with sarcoidosis and small fibre neuropathy

M. Bakkers, C. G. Faber, M. Drent, M. C E Hermans, S. I. Van Nes, G. Lauria, M. De Baets, I. S J Merkies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Small fibre neuropathy (SFN) has been demonstrated in sarcoidosis. However, a systematic analysis of neuropathic pain and autonomic symptoms, key features of SFN, has not been performed. Clinimetric evaluation of pain and autonomic symptoms using the neuropathic pain scale (NPS) and the modified Composite Autonomic Symptoms Scale (mCOMPASS) was used in sarcoidosis patients for this study. A total of 91 sarcoidosis patients (n = 23 without SFN symptoms, n = 43 with SFN symptoms but normal intraepidermal nerve fibre density (IENFD), n = 25 with SFN symptoms and reduced IENFD) were examined. NPS and mCOMPASS were assessed twice (reliability studies). Severity of pain was compared between the subgroups. Correlation between NPS and a visual analogue pain scale (VAS) was assessed (validity studies). Healthy controls (n = 105) completed the mCOMPASS for comparison with patients' scores. Patients with sarcoidosis, SFN complaints, and reduced IENFD demonstrated more severe pain scores on the NPS. The mCOMPASS differentiated between subjects with and without SFN symptoms. A significant correlation was obtained between the NPS and VAS, indicating good construct validity. Good reliability values were obtained for all scales. The use of the NPS to evaluate SFN symptoms is suggested, as it shows differences between patients with SFN symptoms with normal or reduced IENFD values. The mCOMPASS might be used to select patients for further testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2086-2090
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • Autonomic dysfunction
  • Composite Autonomic Symptoms Scale
  • Neuropathic pain scale
  • Pain
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Small fibre neuropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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