Background: Quantitative sensory testing (QST) is often used to measure children's and adults' detection- and pain thresholds in a quantitative manner. In children especially the Thermal Sensory Analyzer (TSA-II) is often applied to determine thermal detection and pain thresholds. As comparisons between studies are hampered by the different testing protocols used, we aimed to present a standard protocol and reference values for thermal detection- and pain thresholds in children. Methods: Our standard testing protocol includes reaction time dependent and independent tests and takes about 14-18 min to complete. Reference values were obtained from a sample of 69 healthy term born children and adolescents with a median age of 11.2 years (range 8.2 to 17.9 years old). Seventy-one children were recruited and data of 28 males and 41 females was obtained correctly. We studied possible age and sex differences. Results: This study provides Dutch reference values and presents a standard quantitative sensory testing protocol for children with an age from 8 years onwards. This protocol appeared to be feasible, since only two out of 71 participants were not able to correctly complete the protocol due to attention deficits and were therefore excluded. We found some significant age and sex differences: females were statistically significantly more sensitive for both cold and heat pain compared to males, and the youngest children (8-9 years old) were less sensitive to detect a warm stimulus. The youngest children tend to be more sensitive to heat pain in comparison to older participants, although the difference was not statistically significant. Conclusions: We present a feasible thermal quantitative sensory testing protocol for children and reference values that are easy to interpret and may serve as normative values for future studies.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Children, Pain, Protocol, Quantitative sensory testing, Reference values
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12887-017-0827-7, hdl.handle.net/1765/98737
Journal B M C Pediatrics
Citation
van den Bosch, G.E, van Dijk, M, Tibboel, D, & Valkenburg, A.J. (2017). Thermal quantitative sensory testing in healthy Dutch children and adolescents standardized test paradigm and Dutch reference values. B M C Pediatrics, 17(1). doi:10.1186/s12887-017-0827-7