CRPS Budapest Diagnostic Criteria

A        The patient has continuing pain which is disproportionate to the inciting event

Sensory          Allodynia (to light touch and/or temperature sensation and/or deep somatic pressure and/or joint movement) and/or hyperalgesia (to pinprick)

Vasomotor          Temperature asymmetry (more than 1 deg.) and/or skin colour changes and/or skin colour asymmetry

Sudomotor/oedema          Oedema and/or sweating changes and/or sweating asymmetry

Motor/trophic         Decreased range of motion and/or motor dysfunction (weakness, tremor, dystonia) and/or trophic changes (hair/nail/skin)

Signs – see or feel a problem

Symptoms – patient reports a problem

B          The patient has at least one sign in two or more of the categories

C          The patient reports at least one symptom in three or more of the categories

D         No other diagnosis can better explain the signs and symptoms


Pain Med. 2007 May-Jun;8(4):326-31.

Proposed new diagnostic criteria for complex regional pain syndrome.

Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

This topical update reports recent progress in the international effort to develop a more accurate and valid diagnostic criteria for complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). The diagnostic entity of CRPS (published in the International Association for the Study of Pain’s Taxonomy monograph in 1994; International Association for the Study of Pain [IASP]) was intended to be descriptive, general, and not imply etiopathology, and had the potential to lead to improved clinical communication and greater generalizability across research samples. Unfortunately, realization of this potential has been limited by the fact that these criteria were based solely on consensus and utilization of the criteria in the literature has been sporadic at best. As a consequence, the full potential benefits of the IASP criteria have not been realized. Consensus-derived criteria that are not subsequently validated may lead to over- or underdiagnosis, and will reduce the ability to provide timely and optimal treatment. Results of validation studies to date suggest that the IASP/CRPS diagnostic criteria are adequately sensitive; however, both internal and external validation research suggests that utilization of these criteria causes problems of overdiagnosis due to poor specificity. This update summarizes the latest international consensus group’s action in Budapest, Hungary to approve and codify empirically validated, statistically derived revisions of the IASP criteria for CRPS.


Pain. 2010 Aug;150(2):268-74. Epub 2010 May 20.

Validation of proposed diagnostic criteria (the “Budapest Criteria”) for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.

Current IASP diagnostic criteria for CRPS have low specificity, potentially leading to overdiagnosis. This validation study compared current IASP diagnostic criteria for CRPS to proposed new diagnostic criteria (the “Budapest Criteria”) regarding diagnostic accuracy. Structured evaluations of CRPS-related signs and symptoms were conducted in 113 CRPS-I and 47 non-CRPS neuropathic pain patients. Discriminating between diagnostic groups based on presence of signs or symptoms meeting IASP criteria showed high diagnostic sensitivity (1.00), but poor specificity (0.41), replicating prior work. In comparison, the Budapest clinical criteria retained the exceptional sensitivity of the IASP criteria (0.99), but greatly improved upon the specificity (0.68). As designed, the Budapest research criteria resulted in the highest specificity (0.79), again replicating prior work. Analyses indicated that inclusion of four distinct CRPS components in the Budapest Criteria contributed to enhanced specificity. Overall, results corroborate the validity of the Budapest Criteria and suggest they improve upon existing IASP diagnostic criteria for CRPS.


Pain. 2010 Dec;151(3):870-6. Epub 2010 Oct 20.

Development of a severity score for CRPS.

Center for Pain Studies, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.

The clinical diagnosis of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a dichotomous (yes/no) categorization necessary for clinical decision-making. However, such dichotomous diagnostic categories do not convey an individual’s subtle and temporal gradations in severity of the condition, and have poor statistical power when used as an outcome measure in research. This study evaluated the validity and potential utility of a continuous type score to index severity of CRPS. Psychometric and medical evaluations were conducted in 114 CRPS patients and 41 non-CRPS neuropathic pain patients. Based on the presence/absence of 17 clinically-assessed signs and symptoms of CRPS, an overall CRPS Severity Score (CSS) was derived. The CSS discriminated well between CRPS and non-CRPS patients (p<.001), and displayed strong associations with dichotomous CRPS diagnoses using both IASP diagnostic criteria (Eta=0.69) and proposed revised criteria (Eta=0.77-0.88). Higher CSS was associated with significantly higher clinical pain intensity, distress, and functional impairments, as well as greater bilateral temperature asymmetry and thermal perception abnormalities (p’s<.05). In an archival prospective dataset, increases in anxiety and depression from pre-surgical baseline to 4 weeks post-knee arthroplasty were found to predict significantly higher CSS at 6- and 12-month follow-up (p’s<.05). Results indicate the CSS corresponds with and complements currently accepted dichotomous diagnostic criteria for CRPS, and support its validity as an index of CRPS severity. Its utility as an outcome measure in research studies is also suggested, with potential statistical advantages over dichotomous diagnostic criteria.


Eur J Pain. 2011 Sep;15(8):830.e1-8. Epub 2011 Feb 22.

Distribution of signs and symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome type I in patients meeting the diagnostic criteria of the International Association for the Study of Pain.

Department of Anesthesiology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. rdh.deboer@vumc.n

The aim of the present study was to describe the occurrence of signs and symptoms in CRPS I patients meeting the IASP (Orlando) criteria, assess the occurrence of signs and symptoms in relation to disease duration and compare these to historical data based on a different diagnostic criteria set. Six hundred and ninety-two ambulatory patients meeting the IASP criteria for CRPS I referred to the outpatient clinics of five participating centers were included in this cross-sectional study. Characteristics were recorded in a standardized fashion and categorized according to the factor structure proposed by Bruehl/Harden. Subgroups were classified according to the duration of complaints and compared to historical data as described by Veldman et al. The Chi-square test corrected for multiple comparisons was used for statistical analysis. The prevalence of sensory signs was higher in patients with longer disease duration, especially for the allodynia’s and hyperalgesia (all p<0.001). Signs in vasomotor (color difference; p=0.0007) and sudomotor (edema; p<0.0001) subgroups were less frequently present in patients with longer disease duration (i.e. >6 months). Prevalences of signs in the motor subgroup were all higher (p<0.0001) in patients with longer disease duration, except for limited range of motion. Occurrence of signs was significantly lower (<0.001) than those reported by Veldman et al., except for hyperesthesia and dystonia. Occurrence rates may vary at different time points after onset of CRPS, which may be of influence for diagnosing patients with novel derived diagnostic criteria. We argue for a mechanism based description of CRPS I based on one set of uniform generally accepted diagnostic criteria in future studies.


One thought on “CRPS Budapest Diagnostic Criteria

  1. Pingback: CRPS-like presentations & neuropathic pain | CRPS UK

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