Comparison of perception threshold testing and thermal-vibratory testing

Lior Lowenstein*, Kathy Jesse, Kimberly Kenton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Current perception threshold testing (CPT) is thought to selectively activate and measure three types of afferent nerves. However, it has not been standardized or compared with better-studied methods of sensory testing. Our objectives were to determine the relationship between CPT (2000 Hz, 250 Hz, 5 Hz) and quantitative sensory testing (QST) using vibratory and heat thresholds, and to assess the test-retest reliability of both methods. Twenty-seven healthy women were enrolled. Each woman underwent CPT and QST on the volar part of the arm. Sensory thresholds were determined by the method of limits; 20 women underwent repeated CPT testing and QST after 1 week to determine test-retest reliability. Thermal thresholds were moderately correlated with CPT at 5 Hz (ρ = 0.49, P = 0.009), as were vibratory thresholds and CPT at 2000 Hz (ρ = 0.5, P = 0.008). In contrast to CPT measurements, warm and vibratory and cold thresholds were correlated 1 week apart (ρ = 0.73, P = 0.0001; ρ = 0.83, P = 0.0001; and ρ = 0.47, P = 0.0037, respectively). CPT testing and QST seem to be measuring similar afferent nerve-fiber populations, but QST has better test-retest reliability than CPT testing, justifying its role in clinical or research studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-517
Number of pages4
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008


  • CPT
  • Current perception threshold
  • QST
  • Quantitative sensory testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)


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