Effects on hemodynamic variables and echocardiographic parameters after a stellate ganglion block in 15 healthy volunteers
Two female patients were referred to us with a complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) of the upper limb. One patient developed a CRPS type 1 after a radius fracture, the other presented a CRPS type 2 after a wrist trauma with a nerve injury of N. ulnaris. Both patients had progressive pain in spite of medical treatment (NSAID, Gabapentine, Calcitonine), physiotherapy, occupational therapy and osteopathy. In addition to pain they also showed the typical autonomic symptoms like oedema, hyperhidrosis, disturbances of skin colour and temperature and a severely limited motility of wrist and fingers. The clinical symptoms of both types of CRPS are identical and not restricted to the peripheral nerve distribution. The sympathetic nerve system is not only involved in the pain mechanism with reflectory processes in the segment and with the sympathetic afferent coupling, it also takes part in the neuroplasticity and in the neurogenic inflammation. The logical therapeutic intervention is therefore to normalize the hyperactivity of the sympathetic nerve systems with local anaesthetics. This regulation is done with injections to the stellate ganglion if upper limbs are affected (affections of lower limbs are treated with injections to the lumbar sympathetic trunk). Repeated injections to the stellate ganglion caused immediate improvement of pain and other symptoms in both patients.