The absence of generally agreed upon taxonomy makes all studies difficult or impossible to evaluate and compare. Many previous papers have used circular reasoning: for example, a case of RSD responded to sympathetic block, so response to sympathetic block became a diagnostic criterion.8

Diagnostic criteria were addressed in a very thoughtful paper by Veldman et al.9 Their suggestions were based on more than 800 consecutive cases of RSD. They suggested that the general categories of criteria should include:

• inflammatory;

They divided RSD into primarily warm and cold varieties, but could not define stages. This paper also points out that the absence of validated diagnostic criteria is the fundamental problem of all retrospective or meta-analyses to date.

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