Development, Validation, and Field-Testing of an Instrument for Clinical Assessment of HIV-Associated Neuropathy and Neuropathic Pain in Resource-Restricted and Large Population Study Settings

Citation: Woldeamanuel YW, Kamerman PR, Veliotes DGA, Phillips TJ, Asboe D, Boffito M, et al. (2016) Development, Validation, and Field-Testing of an Instrument for Clinical Assessment of HIV-Associated Neuropathy and Neuropathic Pain in Resource-Restricted and Large Population Study Settings. PLoS ONE 11(10): e0164994. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0164994
Published: October 20, 2016

Abstract
vasculitic_neuropathy_-_plastics_-_low_magHIV-associated sensory peripheral neuropathy (HIV-SN) afflicts approximately 50% of patients on antiretroviral therapy, and is associated with significant neuropathic pain. Simple accurate diagnostic instruments are required for clinical research and daily practice in both high- and low-resource setting. A 4-item clinical tool (CHANT: Clinical HIV-associated Neuropathy Tool) assessing symptoms (pain and numbness) and signs (ankle reflexes and vibration sense) was developed by selecting and combining the most accurate measurands from a deep phenotyping study of HIV positive people (Pain In Neuropathy Study–HIV-PINS). CHANT was alpha-tested in silico against the HIV-PINS dataset and then clinically validated and field-tested in HIV-positive cohorts in London, UK and Johannesburg, South Africa. The Utah Early Neuropathy Score (UENS) was used as the reference standard in both settings. In a second step, neuropathic pain in the presence of HIV-SN was assessed using the Douleur Neuropathique en 4 Questions (DN4)-interview and a body map. CHANT achieved high accuracy on alpha-testing with sensitivity and specificity of 82% and 90%, respectively. In 30 patients in London, CHANT diagnosed 43.3% (13/30) HIV-SN (66.7% with neuropathic pain); sensitivity = 100%, specificity = 85%, and likelihood ratio = 6.7 versus UENS, internal consistency = 0.88 (Cronbach alpha), average item-total correlation = 0.73 (Spearman’s Rho), and inter-tester concordance > 0.93 (Spearman’s Rho). In 50 patients in Johannesburg, CHANT diagnosed 66% (33/50) HIV-SN (78.8% neuropathic pain); sensitivity = 74.4%, specificity = 85.7%, and likelihood ratio = 5.29 versus UENS. A positive CHANT score markedly increased of pre- to post-test clinical certainty of HIV-SN from 43% to 83% in London, and from 66% to 92% in Johannesburg. In conclusion, a combination of four easily and quickly assessed clinical items can be used to accurately diagnose HIV-SN. DN4-interview used in the context of bilateral feet pain can be used to identify those with neuropathic pain.

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