Current Issue - September/October - Vol 22 Issue 5


  1. 2019;22;E417-E424A Prospective, Randomized Cross-Over Trial of T2 Paravertebral Block as a Sympathetic Block in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
    Randomized Trial
    Young Hoon Kim, MD, PhD, Seo Yeong Kim, MD, Yun Jae Lee, MD, and Eung Don Kim, MD.

BACKGROUND: Sympathetic block is commonly performed in clinical practice for management of intractable pain conditions. However, stellate ganglion block (SGB) alone often does not achieve sufficient sympatholysis of the upper extremity. The paravertebral space continues up to the cervical sympathetic chain and includes the stellate ganglion. We compared the sympatholytic and analgesic effect of paravertebral block performed at the T2 level (T2 PVB) with that of SGB in patients with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) of the upper extremity.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to compare the sympatholytic property of T2 PVB with that of the conventional SGB in patients with CRPS of the upper extremity.

STUDY DESIGN: Prospective, randomized cross-over trial.

SETTING: University hospital pain center in Korea.

METHODS: Fifteen patients with upper extremity CRPS were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 intervention methods (SGB or T2 PVB). After effects of the first block receded, the patients were crossed over to the second procedure. A difference in temperature increase between the treated side and the opposite side (DeltaT) DeltaT greater than or equal to 1.5°C was considered as a successful primary outcome. Rate of successful primary outcome, degree of pain reduction, duration of effect, and patient satisfaction scores were compared between the 2 intervention methods.

RESULTS: Rate of successful primary outcome (DeltaT greater than or equal to  1.5°C) was significantly higher in the T2 PVB cases than in the SGB cases (80.0% vs. 20.0%; P = 0.003). Numeric Rating Scale scores after the procedure were significantly lower in the T2 PVB group. Patient satisfaction scores were significantly higher, and the duration of the block was significantly longer in the T2 PVB cases than in the SGB cases.

LIMITATIONS: The relatively small sample size from a single center, and the lack of standardization of the injected volume of T2 PVB and SGB were limitations.

CONCLUSIONS: T2 PVB showed superior sympatholytic effect than SGB; other clinical outcomes were also better with T2 PVB than with SGB. T2 PVB can be a useful option for producing sympatholytic and analgesic effect in patients with CRPS of the upper extremity.

KEY WORDS: Sympathetic block, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, paravertebral block, stellate ganglion block