Study protocol for a randomised controlled trial of ultrasound-guided pulsed radiofrequency of the genicular nerves in the treatment of patients with osteoarthritis knee pain

Javier Mata, Pedro Valentí, Beatriz Hernández, Bartolome Mir, Jose Luis Aguilar
BMJ Open 2017 November 3, 7 (11): e016377

INTRODUCTION: The goals for the management of patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee are to control pain and to minimise disability. Because the number of patients will increase as the population ages, alternative approaches to alleviate their joint pain other than conventional treatments are necessary. The purpose of this article is to present a refined protocol to determine if there is long-term improvement in pain and function after ultrasound-guided pulsed radiofrequency treatment of the genicular nerves (GNs) in patients with chronic painful knee OA.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This study is a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel design trial. One hundred and forty-two outpatients with OA of the knee will be recruited from Mallorca, Spain. Participants will be randomly allocated into two groups: ultrasound-guided sham GN pulsed radiofrequency without active treatment and ultrasound-guided real GN pulsed radiofrequency. The primary outcome measures will be the observed changes from baseline pain intensity based on visual analogue scale (VAS). The possible changes in the secondary efficacy variables from the baseline as assessed by the Goldberg Anxiety and Depression Scale, pain medication use, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC subscales) and VAS pain intensity are also to be included in the study. These variables will be assessed at baseline, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and 1 year after treatment.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The protocol was approved by the Research Ethic Committee of the Balearic Islands (IB 3223/16 PI). The results will be disseminated in peer-reviewed journals and at scientific conferences.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Trial registration numberNCT02915120; Pre-results.

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