Current Issue - July/August 2020 - Vol 23 Issue 4


  1. 2020;23;E335-E342Management of Cardiac Implantable Electrical Devices in Patients Undergoing Radiofrequency Ablation for Spine Pain: Physician Survey and Review of Guidelines
    Physician Survey
    Jason Friedrich, MD, Elise M. Itano, MD, and Rachael Rzasa Lynn, MD.

BACKGROUND: More patients with cardiac implantable electrical devices (CIEDs) are presenting to spine and pain practices for radiofrequency ablation (RFA) procedures for chronic pain. Although the potential for electromagnetic interference (EMI) affecting CIED function is known with RFA procedures, available guidelines do not specifically address CIED management for percutaneous RFA for zygapophyseal (z-joint) joint pain, and thus physician practice may vary.

OBJECTIVES: To better understand current practices of physicians who perform RFA for chronic z-joint pain with respect to management of CIEDs. Perioperative CIED management guidelines are also reviewed to specifically address risk mitigation strategies for potential EMI created by ambulatory percutaneous spine RFA procedures.

STUDY DESIGN: Web-based provider survey and narrative review.

SETTING: Multispecialty pain clinic, academic medical center.

METHODS: A web-based survey was created using Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap). A survey link was provided via e-mail to active members of the Spine Intervention Society (SIS), American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, as well as distributed freely to community Pain Physicians and any receptive academic departments of PM&R or Anesthesiology. The narrative review summarizes pertinent case series, review articles, a SIS recommendation statement, and multi-specialty peri-operative guidelines as they relate specifically to spine RFA procedures.

RESULTS: A total of 197 clinicians participated in the survey from diverse clinical backgrounds, including anesthesiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, radiology, neurosurgery, and neurology, with 81% reporting fellowship training. Survey responses indicate wide variability in provider management of CIEDs before, during, and after RFA for z-joint pain. Respondents indicated they would like more specific guidelines to aid in management and decision-making around CIEDs and spine RFA procedures. Literature review yielded several practice guidelines related to perioperative management of CIEDs, but no specific guideline for percutaneous spine RFA procedures. However, combining the risk mitigation strategies provided in these guidelines, with interventional pain physician clinical experience allows for reasonable management recommendations to aid in decision-making.

LIMITATIONS: Although this manuscript can serve as a review of CIEDs and aid in management decisions in patients with CIEDs, it is not a clinical practice guideline.

CONCLUSIONS: Practice patterns vary regarding CIED management in ambulatory spine RFA procedures. CIED presence is not a contraindication for spine RFA but does increase the complexity of a spine RFA procedure and necessitates some added precautions.

KEY WORDS: Radiofrequency ablation, neurotomy, cardiac implantable electrical device, zygapophyseal joint, spondylosis, neck pain, low back pain, chronic pain