Spinal cord stimulation in complex regional pain syndrome: Cervical and lumbar devices are comparably effective

T. Forouzanfar, M. A. Kemler, W. E.J. Weber, A. G.H. Kessels, M. van Kleef*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background. Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) has been used since 1967 for the treatment of patients with chronic pain. However, long-term effects of this treatment have not been reported. The present study investigated the long-term effects of cervical and lumbar SCS in patients with complex regional pain syndrome type I. Methods. Thirty-six patients with a definitive implant were included in this study. A pain diary was obtained from all patients before treatment and 6 months and 1 and 2 years after implantation. All patients were asked to complete a seven-point Global Perceived Effect (GPE) scale and the Euroqol-5D (EQ-5D) at each post-implant assessment point. Results. The pain intensity was reduced at 6 months, 1 and 2 years after implantation (P<0.05). However, the repeated measures ANOVA showed a statistically significant, linear increase in the visual analogue scale score (P=0.03). According to the GPE, at least 42% of the cervical SCS patients and 47% of the lumbar SCS patients reported at least 'much improvement'. The health status of the patients, as measured on the EQ-5D, was improved after treatment (P<0.05). This improvement was noted both from the social and from the patients' perspective. Complications and adverse effects occurred in 64% of the patients and consisted mainly of technical defects. There were no differences between cervical and lumbar groups with regard to outcome measures. Conclusion. SCS reduced the pain intensity and improves health status in the majority of the CRPS I patients in this study. There was no difference in pain relief and complications between cervical and lumbar SCS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-353
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes

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