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A Quantitative Systematic Review of Clinical Outcome Measure Use in Peripheral Nerve Injury of the Upper Limb

  • Murphy, Ralph N A1, 2
  • Elsayed, Heba1
  • Singh, Sahiba2
  • Dumville, Jo3
  • Wong, Jason K F1, 2
  • Reid, Adam J1, 2
  • 1 Blond McIndoe Laboratories, Division of Cell Matrix Biology and Regenerative Medicine, School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, The University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, UK , (Ukraine)
  • 2 Department of Plastic Surgery & Burns, Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, UK , (Ukraine)
  • 3 Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, UK , (Ukraine)
Published Article
Publication Date
Mar 08, 2021
DOI: 10.1093/neuros/nyab060
PMID: 33694366
PMCID: PMC8203424
PubMed Central
  • Neuros/12


BACKGROUND Peripheral nerve injury (PNI) is common, leading to reduced function, pain, and psychological impact. Treatment has not progressed partly due to inability to compare outcomes between centers managing PNI. Numerous outcome measures exist but there is no consensus on which outcome measures to use nor when. OBJECTIVE To perform a systematic review in order to describe and classify outcome measures used in PNI. METHODS A search of Ovid Medline, Ovid Embase, Allied and Complementary Medicine Database (AMED), and CENTRAL (Cochrane Clinical Trials) was conducted. Randomized control trials (RCTs), cohort studies, and case-controlled and case series (≥5 participants) published from inception of the database until 2019 investigating adult patients with a traumatic upper limb PNI in which an outcome measurement was utilized were included. RESULTS A total of 96 studies were included (15 RCTs, 8 case-control studies, 18 cohort studies, 5 observational studies, and the remainder were case series or retrospective reviews). A total of 56 individual outcome measures were identified, utilized across 28 different countries and 7097 patients. Ten core domains were defined: sensory subjective, sensory objective, motor subjective, motor objective, sensorimotor function, psychology and well-being, disability, quality of life, pain and discomfort, and neurotrophic measures. CONCLUSION Lack of consensus on outcome measure use hinders comparison of outcomes between nerve injury centers and the development of novel treatments. Development of a core outcome set will help standardize outcome reporting, improve translation of novel treatments from lab to clinical practice, and ensure future research in PNI is more amenable to systematic review and meta-analysis.

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