Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a rare condition for which there are multiple treatment options available. To date, there has been difficulty in comparing the outcomes of treatment due to the variety of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) and their inadequate psychometric testing. The aim of this review was to assess the psychometric properties of PROMs used to date in TN and make recommendations for their use in future studies.
Five electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL Plus, PsycINFO, Health and Psychosocial Instruments) were searched for studies assessing the development of PROMs or their psychometric properties in TN studies. The records obtained were assessed independently by two reviewers for their methodological quality, following guidance from the Consensus-based Standards for the selection of Health Measurement Instruments (COSMIN).
Six studies were identified and information on five PROMs (Brief Pain Inventory Facial (BPI-F), Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), Barrow Neurology Institute Pain Scale (BNI-PS), Penn Facial Pain Scale-Revised (Penn-FPS-R) and Trigeminal Neuralgia Quality of Life Score) were retrieved. The Penn-FPS-R demonstrated moderate quality evidence for sufficient content validity. The BPI-F showed moderate evidence for sufficient internal consistency and structural validity but low evidence for inconsistent content validity. The Trigeminal Neuralgia Quality of Life score showed very low-quality evidence for insufficient content validity, structure validity and responsiveness. No evidence was found on the assessment of any psychometric properties of the VAS and BNI-PS in TN.
There is limited evidence of the psychometric performance of patient-reported outcomes for TN and recommendations for their inclusion in future studies cannot be made. The validation of PROMs in TN studies should be a priority in this field of research.
This review highlights the knowledge gap in the field of psychometrics of patient reported outcomes measures in the field of TN. Given the unavailability of an objective outcome measure for pain or health related quality of life, psychometrically sound PROMs are essential for assessing medical and surgical treatment outcomes in TN.