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Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) type I is a painful and disabling syndrome that is accompanied by physical changes in the affected extremity. It generally occurs after trauma, manifesting as pain that is out of proportion to the inciting event. Treatment of the disorder is difficult, with many patients being refractory to multiple pharmacologic regimens. Regional anesthetic techniques, including neuraxial blockade, sympathetic blockade, Bier block, or peripheral nerve catheters, have been used with varying degrees of success. We describe, for the first time, the use of multiple peripheral nerve catheters to treat CRPS type I in a 10-year-old girl when multimodal pharmacologic regimens failed. At separate times, a peripheral nerve catheter was placed to treat CRPS of the distal left lower extremity as well as the right upper extremity. The goal of this therapy was to relieve pain and thereby allow the reinitiation of intensive physical therapy. A continuous infusion of 0.1% ropivacaine was infused via the catheters for ~60 hours. The patient was subsequently able to participate in physical therapy as well as activities of daily living with improved eating, sleeping, and mood. Although many therapeutic modalities have been tried in CRPS type I, given the debilitating nature of the disorder and the variable response to therapy, new and alternative therapeutic interventions, such as continuous peripheral nerve catheters, are needed.


David P Martin, Tarun Bhalla, Saif Rehman, Joseph D Tobias. Successive multisite peripheral nerve catheters for treatment of complex regional pain syndrome type I. Pediatrics. 2013 Jan;131(1):e323-6

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PMID: 23230070

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