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A retrospective case series of ultrasound-guided suprascapular nerve pulsed radiofrequency treatment for hemiplegic shoulder pain in patients with chronic stroke

Authors Picelli A, Lobba D, Vendramin P, Castellano G, Chemello E, Schweiger V, Martini A, Parolini M, Gandolfi M, Polati E, Smania N

Received 22 December 2017

Accepted for publication 21 March 2018

Published 15 June 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 1115—1120

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S160622

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Andrew Yee

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr E. Alfonso Romero-Sandoval


Alessandro Picelli,1,2 Davide Lobba,1 Patrizia Vendramin,3 Giuseppe Castellano,3 Elena Chemello,1 Vittorio Schweiger,4,5 Alvise Martini,4,5 Massimo Parolini,4,5 Marialuisa Gandolfi,1,2 Enrico Polati,4,5 Nicola Smania1,2

1Neuromotor and Cognitive Rehabilitation Research Center, Department of Neurosciences, Biomedicine and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Verona, Italy; 2Neurorehabilitation Unit, Department of Neurosciences, Hospital Trust of Verona, Verona, Italy; 3Anesthesia, Intensive Care and Pain Therapy Unit, “Girolamo Fracastoro” Hospital, San Bonifacio, Italy; 4Anesthesia and Intensive Care Section, Department of Surgery, Dentistry, Pediatrics and Gynecology, University of Verona, Verona, Italy; 5Pain Therapy Center, Department of Emergency and Intensive Care, Hospital Trust of Verona, Verona, Italy

Purpose: Hemiplegic shoulder pain (HSP) is the most common pain condition after stroke. Pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) treatment of the suprascapular nerve (SSN) effectively relieves shoulder pain conditions. To date, there is no study about the effects of PRF treatment for HSP. Thus, our aim was to report on a case series about its use in chronic stroke.
Patients and methods: Six chronic stroke patients with HSP (visual analog scale [VAS] score for pain ≥30 mm) underwent ultrasound-guided SSN PRF treatment. All were evaluated before treatment and at 4 and 16 weeks of follow-up. The main outcome was VAS score. Secondary outcomes were Modified Ashworth Scale, shoulder passive range of motion (PROM), Disability Assessment Scale (DAS), Fugl-Meyer Assessment, and EuroQol-5 dimension questionnaire (EuroQol-5D) scores.
Results: As compared with baseline, improvement was observed in the following parameters: VAS for pain (at 4 weeks, P=0.023; at 16 weeks, P=0.023); shoulder PROM for abduction (at 4 weeks, P=0.023; at 16 weeks, P=0.024), flexion (at 4 and 16 weeks, P=0.024), extension (at 4 and 16 weeks, P=0.02), and external rotation (4 and 16 weeks, P=0.02); DAS for hygiene (at 4 and 16 weeks, P=0.024), dressing (at 4 weeks, P=0.02; at 16 weeks, P=0.024), and pain (at 4 weeks, P=0.024; at 16 weeks, P=0.023); and EuroQol-5D (at 4 and 16 weeks, P=0.024).
Conclusion: Our observations support the use of ultrasound-guided SSN PRF treatment for HSP in chronic stroke patients.

Keywords: chronic pain, pain management, rehabilitation

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