How Do Patients Achieve CRPS Diagnosis After Accident?
CRPS (formerly RSD) affects every patient differently. It’s estimated that 90% of those with a CRPS diagnosis suffer from Type I. The remaining 10% of patients suffer from Type II.
What is a reasonable prognosis for CRPS patients?
This Shaked Law Firm Blog article on CRPS (formerly RSD) delves into achieving a diagnosis and managing expectations of prognosis in CRPS patients. At the end of this article, the audience will find links to further reading on CRPS via the Shaked Law Firm Blog.
How is an accurate CRPS diagnosis made?
It’s difficult, but not impossible for those suffering symptoms of CRPS to receive an accurate diagnosis.
According to medical professionals with extensive knowledge of disease expression, there isn’t a specific test to confirm a diagnosis of CRPS. CRPS is a “diagnosis of exclusion”. Doctor’s refer to this as a “clinical diagnosis”. It requires a doctor to use their duty of care and vast medical knowledge to properly assess the patient. A clinical diagnosis is useful when there is no standard medical test available to determine what condition a patient suffers from.
The chart (Demonstrative Aide) below offers insight into the mechanism of CRPS within the brain:
Why do CRPS patients almost always receive a diagnosis of exclusion first?
According to medical professionals with extensive knowledge of disease expression, there is no specific test to confirm a diagnosis of CRPS. CRPS is a “diagnosis of exclusion”. Doctor’s refer to this form of diagnosing as a “clinical diagnosis”. With confirmation of a CRPS diagnosis, there are several factors doctors consider when treating a patient. Younger people such as children and adolescents who present with the symptoms have a better chance of recovering some quality of life.
There are several other pain conditions that require a diagnosis of exclusion. Fibromyalgia, for instance, is a pain condition that receives a diagnosis by most physicians after touching a patient’s “pressure points”. The pain then receives a “score”. This test is not standard. That’s because every patient feels pain differently. Other illnesses such as Multiple Sclerosis must be ruled out before a CRPS diagnosis is made. Confusing one illness for another may be a misdiagnosis in certain cases.
The same chance of misdiagnosis applies to CRPS. Largely, CRPS diagnoses’ are made by looking at a patient’s medical history. Doctors must take the area where painful symptoms occur into account. CRPS is largely a process of the nervous system. When there is no visible reason for the pain, but it persists, a diagnosis of CRPS Type-I is relevant. When a patient has a clear injury to the nerves (trauma post accident), a diagnosis of CRPS Type-II is relevant.
Doctors use diagnostic imaging as one method of diagnosing Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
What diagnostic imaging is available for CRPS patients?
There are a couple of types of diagnostic imaging for patients with a suspicion of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
MRI imaging. This imaging visualizes injuries unseen on a standard X-ray. Cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and muscle have better visualization on MRI. Using strong magnets obtains the image, thus MRI has no radiation. However, MRI imaging does take longer than the standard X-ray or CT scan. Depending on what the scan is for, MRI can run anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. MRI is not a painful procedure.
CT scan. A CT scan, or Computed Tomography scan is more timely than an MRI but is not the “gold standard”. Usually under 20 minutes. It visualizes some of the same things as an MRI. However, like X-ray, a CT scan’s level of radiation is not always preferable to the patient and their doctor. In the event of a pregnancy, for instance, doctors opt for MRI.
CRPS (Causalgia) patients need a lawyer!
There are some CRPS cases which do not offer a promising outlook. These cases of Causalgia are usually found in those who sustain injuries in accidents resulting in CRPS. These tend to have a less favorable prognosis. Thus, these severe cases are the ones that require consultation with a lawyer as soon as possible post accident.
We encourage those suffering symptoms of this agonizing disease to consult a Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer. After consulting with both legal experts and medical professionals, patients may have grounds for litigation if diagnosis is a result of an accident, Negligence, or Malpractice.
Where can I read more about CRPS?
See below for further reading from our Shaked Law Firm Blog on CRPS:
- After CRPS Diagnosis, What Happens Next?
- CRPS and Misdiagnosis: What’s the Link?
- How is CRPS and a Routine Blood Draw Related?