RESEARCH SUPPORT, N.I.H., EXTRAMURAL
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Microcirculatory changes identified by photoacoustic microscopy in patients with complex regional pain syndrome type I after stellate ganglion blocks.

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain syndrome that causes intractable pain, disability, and poor quality of life for patients. The etiology and pathophysiology of CRPS are still poorly understood. Due to a lack of proper diagnostic tools, the prognosis of CRPS is primarily based on clinical observation. The objective of this work is to evaluate a new imaging modality, photoacoustic microscopy (PAM), for assisting diagnoses and monitoring the progress and treatment outcome of CRPS. Blood vasculature and oxygen saturation (sO₂) were imaged by PAM from eight adult patients with CRPS-1. Patients' hands and cuticles were imaged both before and after stellate ganglion block (SGB) for comparison. For all patients, both vascular structure and sO₂ could be assessed by PAM. In addition, more vessels and stronger signals were observed after SGB. The results show that PAM can help diagnose and monitor CRPS.

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