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Incidence of Infections, Explantations, and Displacements/Mechanical Complications of Spinal Cord Stimulation During the Past Eight Years.

OBJECTIVES: The overall awareness and potential of real-world data have drastically increased in the medical field, with potential implications for postmarket medical device surveillance. The goal of this study was to evaluate real-world data on incidence of infections, explantations, and displacements/mechanical complications of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) during the past eight years and to forecast point estimates for the upcoming three years on the basis of the identified patterns.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Based on electronic health records from 80 healthcare organizations within the TriNetX data base in the USA, data of 11,934 patients who received SCS as treatment for persistent spinal pain syndrome type 2 (PSPS T2) were extracted. Events of interest were explantations and displacements/mechanical complications of both the lead and implanted pulse generator (IPG), in addition to infection rates from 2015 to 2022. Mann-Kendall tests were performed to detect monotonic trends in the time series. Forecasts were conducted for the upcoming three years for every event of interest.

RESULTS: Statistically significant increasing time trends were revealed for the annual incidence of IPG and lead displacements/mechanical complications in patients with PSPS T2 over the past eight years. These time trends were visible in both male and female patients and in smokers and nonsmokers. For annual incidence of explantations and infections, no significant time effect was observed. In 2025, the incidence of displacements/mechanical complications of the lead (3.07%) is predicted to be the highest, followed by explantations of the IPG (2.67%) and lead (2.02%).

CONCLUSIONS: Based on real world data, device explantation was the most frequent event of interest, with negative peaks in the time series in 2016 and 2020, presumably due to the introduction of rechargeable pulse generators and to the COVID-19 pandemic, respectively.

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