Clinical Rheumatology

, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 1433–1437 | Cite as

Reflex sympathetic dystrophy: a retrospective epidemiological study of 168 patients

  • Iltekin DumanEmail author
  • Umit Dincer
  • Mehmet Ali Taskaynatan
  • Engin Cakar
  • Ilknur Tugcu
  • Kemal Dincer
Original Article


This is a retrospective epidemiological study. The objective is to determine the epidemiological characteristics including the patient demographics, etiological factors, duration of symptoms, treatment modalities applied and clinical outcome of the treatment in reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD). Medical records of the 168 patients managed in two tertiary hospitals with the diagnosis of RSD that was made according to both IASP criteria and three-phase bone scan were reviewed. The upper limb was affected 1.5 times as commonly as the lower limb. Of the 168 cases, 10.7% were non-traumatic. In 89.3% of the patients, RSD developed after a traumatic inciting event with a predominance of fracture. In 75.6% of the patients, RSD developed due to job-related injuries. The percentage of successful clinical outcome was 72%. The percentage of the patients that did not respond to therapy was 28%. The management period is long and this causes higher therapeutic costs in addition to loss of productive effort. However, response to therapy is good. On the other hand, in approximately one third of the patients, RSD does not improve despite all therapeutic interventions. In addition to compensation costs, this potentially debilitating feature causes RSD to appear as a socioeconomic problem.


Complex regional pain syndrome Epidemiology Reflex sympathetic dystrophy 


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Copyright information

© Clinical Rheumatology 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iltekin Duman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Umit Dincer
    • 2
  • Mehmet Ali Taskaynatan
    • 1
  • Engin Cakar
    • 2
  • Ilknur Tugcu
    • 1
  • Kemal Dincer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationGulhane Military Medical AcademyEtlik, AnkaraTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationGulhane Military Medical Academy, Haydarpasa HospitalUskudar, IstanbulTurkey

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