Pancreatic QST Differentiates Chronic Pancreatitis Patients into Distinct Pain Phenotypes Independent of Psychiatric Comorbidities

Pancreatic Quantitative Sensory Testing (P-QST) Consortium

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Background & Aims: Quantitative sensory testing (QST) has been previously used to study pain in chronic pancreatitis (CP) but included methods that are not suitable for clinical purposes. The aims of this study were to determine if pancreatic QST (P-QST) can differentiate patients into distinct pain phenotypes and to determine the association of these with their clinical pain and psychiatric comorbidities. Methods: A multicenter cross-sectional study was conducted where patients completed validated questionnaires assessing quality of life (QoL), depression and anxiety scores as well as clinical pain symptoms followed by P-QST which included a cold pressor test, repetitive pinprick stimuli and pressure stimulation of the upper abdominal (T10) and control dermatomes. P-QST categorized patients into pain phenotypes based on a previously established nomogram. QoL, clinical pain and psychiatric assessment scores were compared across these groups. Results: A total of 179 patients were enrolled with a mean age of 54.1±13.6 years among whom 59% were males and 42% had an alcoholic etiology. P-QST showed no hyperalgesia in 91 (51%), segmental hyperalgesia in 50 (28%) and widespread hyperalgesia in 38 (21%) patients. Patients with widespread hyperalgesia had significantly higher pain intensity scores (P =.03) and rates of constant pain (P =.002) as well as decreased QoL (P <.001) and physical functioning (P =.03) in comparison with the other two pain phenotypes. In contrast, psychiatric comorbidities were similar across all groups. Conclusions: P-QST may serve as a novel unbiased pain assessment tool in CP as it categorizes patients into distinct pain phenotypes independent of their psychiatric comorbidities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-161.e2
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Abdominal Pain
  • Central Sensitization
  • Hyperalgesia
  • Quality of Life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Hepatology


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