The Relationship of Nerve Function Impairment and Symptoms in Leprosy
The evaluation of the neurological function of leprosy patients is very important for the early dignosis and treatment of nerve damage. This study aims to correlate the reported symptoms with sensory and motor findings of neurological assessment in upper and lower limbs of leprosy patients. An analytical cross-sectional study was carried out at a specialized leprosy service in Belém, Pará, Brazil. This study included 97 leprosy patients treated between 2014 and 2015. Assessment included nerve palpation, voluntary muscle test, sensory testing in hands and feet with Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments, in addition to the recording of symptoms reported by the patient. Data analysis was performed using the chi-square test, G test, t test and Spearman correlation test, considering the alpha significance level of 0.05. Of the 97 leprosy patients, 77 (79.4%) had symptoms, the most common were those related to sensory fibers, including pain and numbness were the most mentioned. The patients with symptoms had more advanced sensory damage stages, higher degree of disability in the lower limbs and motor damage occuring more frequently. The health professionals should be alert to patients with symptoms, allocating more attention at the time of evaluation in order to better prevent / manage disabilities.