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Is Response to a Pre-implant Diagnostic Peripheral Nerve Block Associated With Efficacy After Peripheral Nerve Stimulation Implantation? A Ten-Year Enterprise-Wide Analysis.

OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to assess whether patient response to targeted diagnostic peripheral nerve block before peripheral nerve stimulator (PNS) device implantation is associated with efficacy after PNS implantation.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The electronic medical records from the Mayo Clinic Enterprise (three quarternary care medical centers and additional satellite medical centers) were reviewed to identify patients who underwent PNS implantation between January 2014 and January 2023. A primary outcome of interest was to assess whether administration of a preimplant diagnostic peripheral nerve block predicted pain relief at three months and six months after temporary and permanent PNS implantation. Another primary outcome was to investigate whether there was an association between the pain relief from a preimplant diagnostic peripheral nerve block and pain relief after three and six months after temporary or permanent PNS therapy. Linear regression analysis was conducted for outcomes of interest.

RESULTS: Of 193 eligible patients who underwent PNS therapy, a total of 173 patients were included in the final analysis and were stratified into either the temporary PNS cohort (n = 112) or the permanent PNS cohort (n = 61). Overall, 77.5% of all patients (134/173) underwent a preimplant diagnostic peripheral nerve block and reported a mean percentage relief of 70.1 ± 27.0 from the diagnostic block. Of patients in the temporary PNS cohort, there was no difference in postimplant percentage pain relief between patients who received a diagnostic block (n = 93) and control patients (n = 19) at three months (35.4 ± 36.0 vs 49.8 ± 36.1, respectively; β -14.45, 95% CI -32.98 to 4.07, p = 0.125) or at six months (23.3 ± 30.8 vs 45.7 ± 40.0, respectively; β -22.39, 95% CI -46.86 to 2.08, p = 0.072). Of patients in the permanent PNS cohort, there was no difference in postimplant percentage pain relief between patients who received a diagnostic block (n = 41) and control patients (n = 20) at three months (42.4 ± 34.3 vs 43.2 ± 42.4, respectively; β -0.79, 95% CI -23.56 to 21.99, p = 0.945) or at six months (44.3 ± 35.0 vs 38.8 ± 40.9, respectively; β 5.42, 95% CI -20.04 to 30.88, p = 0.669). Pain relief from preimplant diagnostic blocks was associated with postimplant pain relief from temporary PNS at three months (β 0.33, 95% CI 0.04-0.61, p = 0.025). However, pain relief from preimplant diagnostic blocks did not predict postimplant pain relief from temporary PNS at six months, or permanent PNS at three months and six months.

CONCLUSIONS: Administration of a diagnostic block is not associated with superior pain relief at three or six months after PNS implantation to that of an approach without diagnostic block. Pain relief from a diagnostic block may potentially predict short-term pain relief after temporary PNS therapy, although future prospective studies are warranted to evaluate the prognostic utility of diagnostic blocks.

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