Current Issue - May/June 2020 - Vol 23 Issue 3


  1. 2020;23;263-270Clinical Study of Spinal Cord Stimulation and Pulsed Radiofrequency for Management of Herpes Zoster-Related Pain Persisting Beyond Acute Phase in Elderly Patients
    Randomized Trial
    Botao Liu, MD, Yang Yang, MD, Zhongyi Zhang, MD, Haining Wang, MD, Bifa Fan, MD, and Lei Sima, MD.

BACKGROUND: Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) occurs in 9% to 34% of herpes zoster (HZ) patients, and the incidence of PHN is positively correlated with age. A number of patients suffer from poor therapeutic effects or intolerable side effects and need to accept minimally invasive analgesia.

OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to investigate the effects of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) and pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) on the treatment of elderly patients with HZ-related pain persisting beyond the acute phase.

STUDY DESIGN: A prospective, randomized-controlled trial.

SETTING: Research was conducted at the National Pain Management and Research Center, China-Japan Friendship Hospital (Beijing, China).

METHODS: We selected 63 patients aged over 50 years with zoster-related pain of 1 to 6 months onset. They were randomly divided into an SCS group and a PRF group. In the SCS group, the stimulus electrodes were placed in the affected spinal ganglion segment of the epidural space for 2 weeks. In the PRF group, the radiofrequency needle was percutaneously punctured in the affected dorsal root ganglion. The main outcome measures were the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS-11) score, response rate, and complete remission rate. The secondary endpoint was defined as the use of analgesics and calcium channel antagonists.

RESULTS: The NRS-11 score in the SCS group decreased to 2.90 ± 1.83 (1 week post operation) and 4.37 ± 2.43 (24 weeks post operation), while that in the PRF group decreased to 3.13 ± 1.78 and 4.23 ± 2.64, respectively (compared with baseline, P < .001); there was no significant difference between the 2 groups (P > .05) . The effective rate of pain management was in the range of 56.67% to 81.25%, and the complete pain relief rate ranged from 37% to 71%. The number of patients still using analgesics and calcium channel antagonists after operation were significantly less than those pre-operation (P < .001). Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that the operation method, age, gender, and course of disease did not affect surgical efficacy.

LIMITATIONS: The main limitation of this study is that all the cases were from the same center.

CONCLUSION: It therefore can be concluded that SCS and PRF can effectively relieve PHN.

KEY WORDS: Spinal cord stimulation, pulsed radiofrequency, postherpetic neuralgia