Diffuse reflex sympathetic dystrophy

J. B. Bentley, S. R. Hameroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Reflex sympathetic dystrophy represents a group of disorders that include causalgia, algodystrophy, Sudeck's atrophy, and shoulder-hand syndrome. Early symptoms include pain, hyperesthesia, swelling, vasomotor instability, and limited range of motion, which may progress to trophic skin changes and osteoporosis. Optimal treatment includes early mobilization and sympathetic blockade with a local anesthetic. The pathophysiology of reflex sympathetic dystrophy is thought to include excessive autonomic responses to various factors, including trauma (often seemingly trivial), arthritis, disc disease, myocardial infarction, herpes zoster, vasculitis, bone or joint infection, and tumor. Spread of symptoms to the opposite extremities has implicated central nervous system mediation of reflex sympathetic dystrophy. A case in which acute exacerbation of chronic reflex sympathetic dystrophy resulted in a unique case of total-body involvement is described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-257
Number of pages2
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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