The etiology of notalgia paresthetica: a descriptive study of 117 patients

ŞENEL E., Holt S., Sabancilar E., Sabancilar Z., Senel S. D.

IRISH JOURNAL OF MEDICAL SCIENCE, vol.189, no.4, pp.1311-1316, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 189 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11845-019-02133-1
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.1311-1316
  • Keywords: Etiology, Neuropathic itch, Notalgia paresthetica, Pruritus, PRURITUS
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


Background Notalgia paresthetica (NP) is a neuropathic itching condition unilaterally localized in the midscapular area. It is a common but an underdiagnosed disease, and only a few studies investigating NP etiology with a limited number of patients have been reported in the literature. Objective We aimed to evaluate the demographic, clinical, histopathological, neurological, and radiological findings of NP patients and investigate correlations between them and symptoms of NP to elucidate the etiology of NP. Methods One hundred and seventeen consecutive patients diagnosed with NP were included and assessed in a multidisciplinary and prospective manner. We recorded demographic and clinical data and obtained a skin biopsy from the pruritic or hyperpigmented region. Pruritus severity was assessed by visual analogue scale (VAS). All patients were evaluated neurologically with magnetic resonance imaging. Results The mean age of the patients was 47.08 +/- 12.28 years. The disease was more common in females (87.2%). Statistical analysis revealed that VAS scores were independent of the age, gender, and skin type of the patient. We found no significant difference in VAS scores between NP patients with or without comorbidities. Vertebral pathologies detected by MRI and amyloid deposition revealed in histopathology were not among the main factors affecting VAS scores. Study Limitation Since consecutive patients enrolled into the study, we could not include equal number of male and female patients. Conclusion We found no correlation between symptom severity and findings from neurological and histopathological evaluations. Further microneurological studies should be carried out to elucidate the etiology of NP.