Classification of Qualitative Fieldnotes Collected During Quantitative Sensory Testing: A Step Towards the Development of a New Mixed Methods Approach in Pain Research.

TitleClassification of Qualitative Fieldnotes Collected During Quantitative Sensory Testing: A Step Towards the Development of a New Mixed Methods Approach in Pain Research.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsBordeleau, M, LĂ©onard, G, Gauthier, L, Ferland, CEstelle, Backonja, M, Vollert, J, Marchand, S, Jackson, P, Cantin, L, Prud'homme, M
JournalJ Pain Res
Volume14
Pagination2501-2511
Date Published2021
ISSN1178-7090
Abstract

Purpose: Quantitative sensory testing (QST) is a standardized method to assess somatosensory function. The collection of qualitative information, during the QST procedure, could be an interesting way to facilitate the characterization of altered sensory perception and the identification of different pain phenotypes. The aims of this study were 1) to classify qualitative fieldnotes of sensory abnormalities collected during an independent QST study, and 2) to generate a qualitative interview guide that could be included in the traditional QST procedure as a step towards the implementation of a mixed methods approach.Patients and Methods: QST data were collected from 48 chronic neuropathic pain patients treated with spinal cord stimulation (SCS). Three body areas, with or without SCS, were tested: the painful limb targeted by SCS, the contralateral area, and the ipsilateral upper limb. After each trial of each QST modality, patients were encouraged to report any sensory abnormalities they could identify with a pain quality scale or using their own words.Results: Qualitative self-reported sensory abnormalities were dichotomized into two groups: altered sensory intensities and altered sensory perceptions. Altered sensory intensities were classified as sensory loss or sensory gain subgroups. Altered sensory perceptions were classified as paresthesia and dysesthesia subgroups Overall, 630 qualitative fieldnotes of altered sensations were collected: 385 on the painful limb, 173 at the contralateral area, and 72 at the ipsilateral upper limb. Based on these qualitative data, we propose a standardized method to collect qualitative data involving 9 open- and close-ended questions and 21 codes.Conclusion: Our findings have highlighted the value of qualitative sensory evaluation during QST and constitute an important milestone in the development of a mixed methods protocol in phenotyping research.

DOI10.2147/JPR.S301655
Alternate JournalJ Pain Res
PubMed ID34434059
PubMed Central IDPMC8380625