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Evaluation of thoracic sympathetic ganglion block as a predictor for response to ketamine infusion therapy and spinal cord stimulation in patients with chronic upper extremity pain.

Pain Medicine 2024 May 10
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the predictive value of thoracic sympathetic ganglion block (TSGB) in response to ketamine infusion therapy (KIT) and spinal-cord stimulation (SCS) in patients with chronic upper-extremity pain including complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).

DESIGN: Retrospective.

SETTING: Tertiary hospital single-center.

SUBJECTS: Patients who underwent TSGB receiving KIT or SCS within a 3-year window.

METHODS: Positive TSGB outcomes were defined as ≥ 2 0-10 Numerical Rating Scale (NRS) score reduction at 2 weeks post-procedure. Positive KIT and SCS outcomes were determined by ≥ 2 NRS score reduction at 2-4 weeks post-KIT and ≥4 NRS score reduction at 2-4 weeks post-SCS implantation, respectively.

RESULTS: Among 207 patients who underwent TSGB, 38 received KIT and 34 underwent SCS implantation within 3 years post-TSGB; 33 patients receiving KIT and 32 patients receiving SCS were included. Among 33 patients who received KIT, 60.6% (n = 20) reported a ≥ 2 0-10 NRS pain-score reduction. Positive response to TSGB occurred in 70.0% (n = 14) KIT responders, significantly higher than that in 30.8% (n = 4) KIT non-responders. Multivariable analysis revealed a positive association between positive responses to TSGB and KIT (OR 7.004, 95% CI 1.26-39.02). Among 32 patients who underwent SCS implantation, 68.8% (n = 22) experienced short-term effectiveness. Positive response to TSGB was significantly higher in SCS responders (45.5%, n = 10) than in non-responders (0.0%). However, there were no associations between pain reduction post-TSGB and that post-KIT or post-SCS.

CONCLUSIONS: A positive response to TSGB is a potential predictor for positive KIT and SCS outcomes among patients with chronic upper-extremity pain, including CRPS.

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