Current Issue - July/August 2017 - Vol 20 Issue 5


  1. 2017;20;E633-E645Efficacy of Short-Term Spinal Cord Stimulation in Acute/Subacute Zoster-Related Pain: A Retrospective Study
    Retrospective Study
    Dao-song Dong, MD, Xue Yu, MD, Cheng-fu Wan, MD, Yan Liu, MD, Lin Zhao, MD, Qi Xi, MD, Wen-yao Cui, MD, Qiu-shi Wang, MD, and Tao Song, MD.

BACKGROUND: Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a refractory condition that impairs the patient’s quality of life (QoL), it develops secondary to herpes zoster infection. Therefore, it’s important to prevent the transition of acute/subacute zoster-related pain to PHN. Despite of numerous studies, the optimal intervention that reduces PHN incidence is still unknown.

OBJECTIVE: We evaluate the efficacy of short-term spinal cord stimulation (stSCS) in patients with refractory acute/subacute zoster-related pain.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective study.

SETTING: Tertiary referral center/teaching hospital.

METHODS: A total of 46 patients who presented with acute/subacute zoster-related pain, and had previously failed conventional therapies, underwent stSCS treatment. Visual analog scale (VAS), Short Form Health Survey 12 items (SF-12), and analgesic consumptions were recorded before stSCS, post-stSCS, 2 weeks, and 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after stimulation.

RESULTS: The VAS scores at post-stSCS, 2 weeks, and 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after stSCS treatment were significantly decreased compared with the baseline score (P < 0.001). Thirty-two patients (69.6%, 32/46) achieved the minimal clinically important difference (MCID), including 18 patients (39.1%, 18/46) who achieved complete pain relief (VAS less than or equal to 2). During the follow-up period, the efficacy of stSCS didn’t decrease and VAS scores were declining. Similarly, SF-12 scores and analgesic consumptions improved after stSCS treatment. The efficacy of stSCS did not differ significantly among patients with different durations of acute/subacute zoster-related pain starting from the onset of rash. No serious adverse effects were observed in the entire follow-up period.

LIMITATIONS: This study was not a randomized prospective controlled study. We did not compare the outcomes with patients presenting with mild or moderate pain, and did not compare the efficacy of stSCS treatment with conventional therapies.

CONCLUSIONS: stSCS is a safe, effective, and less invasive analgesic method for patients with refractory acute/subacute zoster-related pain.

KEY WORDS: Herpes zoster, zoster-related pain, postherpetic neuralgia, spinal cord stimulation, VAS