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1/318. A case of reflex sympathetic dystrophy (complex regional pain syndrome, type I) resolved by cerebral contusion.

    We present a case of refractory reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) (complex regional pain syndrome, type I) whose symptoms (ongoing pain, allodynia, hyperhydrosis and temperature abnormalities) were resolved after the patient suffered a traumatic cerebral contusion in the left temporal lobe, which caused no neurological deficit. This case suggests that symptoms of some RSD patients may largely sustained by a complex network involving the brain. ( info)

2/318. sympathetic nervous system and pain: a clinical reappraisal.

    The target article discusses various aspects of the relationship between the sympathetic system and pain. To this end, the patients under study are divided into three groups. In the first group, called "reflex sympathetic dystrophy" (RSD), the syndrome can be characterized by a triad of autonomic, motor, and sensory symptoms, which occur in a distally generalized distribution. The pain is typically felt deeply and diffusely, has an orthostatic component, and is suppressed by the ischemia test. Under those circumstances, the pain is likely to respond to sympatholytic interventions. In a second group, called "sympathetically maintained pain" (SMP) syndrome, the principal symptoms are spontaneous pain, which is felt superficially and has no orthostatic component, and allodynia. These symptoms, typically confined to the zone of a lesioned nerve, may also be relieved by sympathetic blocks. Since the characteristics of the pain differ between RSD and SMP, the underlying kind of sympathetic-sensory coupling may also vary between these cases. A very small third group of patients exhibits symptoms of both RSD and SMP. The dependence or independence of pain on sympathetic function reported in most published studies seems to be questionable because the degree of technical success of the block remains uncertain. Therefore, pain should not be reported as sympathetic function independent until the criteria for a complete sympathetic block have been established and satisfied. ( info)

3/318. Autonomic regulation of lymphatic flow in the lower extremity demonstrated on lymphoscintigraphy in patients with reflex sympathetic dystrophy.

    PURPOSE: nuclear medicine techniques were used to show that the peripheral lymphatics are under autonomic control in much the same way as the blood vessels that supply the same anatomic region. methods: Three patients with complex regional pain syndrome type 1 (reflex sympathetic dystrophy) involving a lower extremity were evaluated using three-phase bone scintigraphy and peripheral lymphoscintigraphy. Each patient was treated with ipsilateral chemical lumbar sympathectomy, and lymphoscintigraphy was repeated within several days of the procedure. RESULTS: All three patients had evidence of decreased flow (compared with the contralateral extremity) to normal flow after ipsilateral sympathectomy. Bone scintigraphy, before and after sympathectomy, was difficult to interpret because of the effects of altered weight bearing. Two patients who had unilateral peripheral edema showed marked improvement after sympathectomy and increased lymphatic flow. CONCLUSIONS: Peripheral lymphatic function is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. In reflex sympathetic dystrophy, peripheral edema may be caused by an increased sympathetic stimulus to the lymphatics. Further study of this phenomenon may show that nuclear medicine studies, such as bone scintigraphy and lymphoscintigraphy, can be used to distinguish patients who will benefit from sympathectomy from those who will not, thereby obviating invasive testing and unnecessary invasive treatment. ( info)

4/318. reflex sympathetic dystrophy in children.

    reflex sympathetic dystrophy is a syndrome characterized by pain in one or more extremities, usually associated with vasomotor changes. Its occurrence in childhood has long been thought to be rare. We describe six cases of pediatric reflex sympathetic dystrophy and suggest that this syndrome could be underdiagnosed in children and adolescents. Psychologic problems frequently play a role in this disorder, which often can be treated conservatively. We also point out that the diagnosis is mainly clinical. An early diagnosis can avoid unnecessary tests and potentially can improve response to treatment, and prognosis. ( info)

5/318. Clinical experience using intrathecal (IT) bupivacaine infusion in three patients with complex regional pain syndrome type I (CRPS-I).

    BACKGROUND AND AIM: To date, there is no reliable method for treating the severe pain and for modifying the natural evolution of CRPS-I. Therefore, we explored the effect of long-term IT bupivacaine infusion (with or without buprenorphine) on this syndrome. patients AND methods: (a) patients: two women and one man, 25, 31 and 42 years old, with CRPS-I of the lower (n=2) or upper (n=1) extremity lasting for 4 and 5 months, and 14 years. (b) INTERVENTIONS: insertion of externalized IT catheters; IT infusion of buprenorphine 0.015 mg/ml and bupivacaine 4.75 mg/ml (n=1), or only bupivacaine 5 mg/ml (n=2) from external electronic pumps. RESULTS: The IT treatment lasted for 172, 282 and 668 days. The mean/maximal daily doses of the IT bupivacaine were 39/66, 55/80 and 69/125 mg, respectively. The pain intensity decreased from VASmean =7 /-1 to VASmean =2 /-2. None of the patients had regression of allodynia, edema, and trophic disturbances in the affected extremities. In 2 patients, the IT treatment did not prevent spread of the disease to the opposite extremity or the occurrence of phantom pain and stump allodynia after amputation. The IT catheters were withdrawn as being no longer needed: in 2 patients 56 and 458 days after amputation of the involved extremity, and in another one before replacement of the IT bupivacaine infusion with epidural dorsal column stimulation (EDCS). After termination of the IT treatment, the patients were observed for 1437, 1575, and 2689 days (until September 1, 1998). At that date, all the patients were alive, and still affected by their CRPS-I, either in the amputation stump (n=2), and/or in the opposite or remote extremities (n=2); further, two were unemployed and one worked for 75% of the time. One of them was taking up to 1500 mg of slow-release morphine to cope with pain. CONCLUSION: The IT pain treatment with bupivacaine (with or without buprenorphine) alleviated the "refractory" pain, but affected neither the associated symptoms and signs of the CRPS-I, nor its natural evolution. Thus, the IT treatment cannot be recommended in preference to other pain treatment regimens for CRPS-I. ( info)

6/318. syringomyelia and complex regional pain syndrome as complications of multiple sclerosis.

    OBJECTIVE: To describe a patient from Southeast asia with the optic-spinal phenotype of multiple sclerosis who developed syringomyelia and resultant complex regional pain syndrome (formerly named reflex sympathetic dystrophy). DESIGN: Case report. SETTING: Department of neurology at a tertiary care hospital in the Republic of singapore. PATIENT: A 53-year-old Chinese woman with a history of optic neuritis developed an episode of left hemiparesis leading to a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Serial neuroimaging studies revealed an active demyelinating plaque in the cervical area that later progressed into a syrinx. Over a period of 1 year she also developed signs of sympathetic dysfunction including horner syndrome of the left eye and complex regional pain syndrome in the left hand. CONCLUSIONS: A case of the optic-spinal phenotype of multiple sclerosis that is commonly observed in Southeast asia is described. This characteristically tissue-destructive form of multiple sclerosis resulted in syringomyelia complicated by a complex regional pain syndrome. Possible pathogenic mechanisms for these associations are discussed. ( info)

7/318. Partial transient osteoporosis of the hand.

    OBJECTIVE: To describe the radiographic and scintigraphic findings of partial transient osteoporosis (PTO) of the hand. To discuss the relationship of PTO and other localized demineralizing diseases. DESIGN AND patients: Three patients with PTO that affected two or three digits of the hand are reported. Two patients were middle-aged women and the third was a young man. All presented with a history of trauma to the hand. All patients experienced localized burning pain, swelling and vasomotor changes including redness of the skin, hyperhidrosis and signs of vasomotor instability of the involved fingers. Plain radiography and bone scanning were used in the diagnosis and follow-up of these cases. RESULTS: All patients had a radial distribution of the osteoporosis that involved adjacent rays. In all patients two rays were involved. The radiographic changes manifested as minimal patchy osteoporosis involving the cortical, cancellous, subarticular and subperiosteal bone with no articular involvement. The increased uptake on scintigraphy coincided with the radial distribution of the osteoporosis. All patients improved on physical therapy and were symptom-free approximately 6 months after the initial injury. These patients were followed up for more than 2 years. CONCLUSION: PTO of the hand is an uncommon disease with typical clinical and radiographic findings. Bone scintigraphy confirms the partial involvement of the hand. ( info)

8/318. reflex sympathetic dystrophy in pregnancy: nine cases and a review of the literature.

    OBJECTIVE: To better understand the diagnosis of reflex sympathetic dystrophy of the lower extremities in pregnant women. SUBJECT: disease analysis using a retrospective series of nine cases and a review of the literature (57 patients and 159 sites of reflex sympathetic dystrophy). RESULTS: This disorder should be considered in any painful pelvic girdle syndrome or lower extremity pain. The hip is involved in 88% of cases. Symptoms develop in the third trimester of pregnancy, between the 26th and the 34th weeks. magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides an early, accurate, and very specific diagnosis, although standard radiography continues to be the first-line diagnostic tool. Fracture occurs in 19% of patients. The etiology and pathophysiology remain unclear, although pregnancy itself appears to play a significant role in this disease. Although locoregional mechanical factors partly explain reflex sympathetic dystrophy. hypertriglyceridemia appears to be a risk factor. This disorder develops independently, but the conclusion of pregnancy appears to be necessary for cure. reflex sympathetic dystrophy does not appear to affect the course of the pregnancy. Indications for cesarean delivery remain obstetrical and should be discussed when a fracture is involved. Simple therapeutic management using gentle physical therapy provides rapid and complete recovery in 2-3 months. CONCLUSION: reflex sympathetic dystrophy during pregnancy remains poorly understood and underestimated. Only joints of the inferior limbs are involved. MRI appears to be the best diagnostic tool. Pathogenesis remains unclear. Fractures are not rare. Treatment should be non-aggressive. ( info)

9/318. The nocebo effect: do no harm.

    The nocebo effect creates negative expectations about symptoms and can have devastating influence on patient recovery. Just as the placebo effect works by making patients believe they will get better, the nocebo effect can serve to make patients worse. Two case histories are presented in which patients were assigned diagnoses without objective physical findings. This resulted in poor outcomes. physicians should avoid assigning a diagnosis without objective physical evidence and thus avoid creating the nocebo effect in patients. ( info)

10/318. reflex sympathetic dystrophy in a patient with the antiphospholipid syndrome.

    We describe a 50-year-old woman who developed severe pain of the left lower limb after an episode of thrombophlebitis. Bone scintigraphy and thermography showed results indicative of reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Laboratory analysis revealed the presence of the lupus anticoagulant. The patient was diagnosed as antiphospholipid syndrome complicated with reflex sympathetic dystrophy of the left lower limb. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a patient with reflex sympathetic dystrophy with underlying antiphospholipid syndrome. ( info)
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