open access

Vol 46, No 3 (2014 Jul-Aug)
Original and clinical articles
Submitted: 2014-07-29
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Radiofrequency neurotomy for the treatment of chronic pain: interference with implantable medical devices

Massimo Barbieri, Martina Bellini
DOI: 10.5603/AIT.2014.0029
·
Anaesthesiol Intensive Ther 2014;46(3):162-165.

open access

Vol 46, No 3 (2014 Jul-Aug)
Original and clinical articles
Submitted: 2014-07-29

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Radiofrequency is widely used in the treatment of chronic pain for its efficacy and low incidence of side effects and complications. Despite this, it is commonly believed that this kind of treatment could interfere with medical implantable devices. Potential interference between implanted devices such as pacemakers, defibrillators and spinal cord stimulators and the radiofrequency of neurotomy is an important concern for physicians caring for patients with these devices.

METHODS: A retrospective study was conducted on 30 radiofrequency-treated patients, collected in five years out of more than 1,000 patients treated. Our cohort was selected due to the presence of implanted medical devices. Treatments include the radiofrequency neurotomy of the lumbar facet joints, intervertebral discs, sacroiliac joint and peripheral nerves.

RESULTS: Out of 30 patients and 68 treatments, global radiofrequency ablation was considered safe, due to the absence of any problem during or after the procedure. In particular, procedures were never interrupted because of electrical interference with the implanted devices or for problems attributable to an aberrant activation of them. Neurological and physical exam did not show any alteration after the procedure.

CONCLUSION: There are several theoretical concerns about radiofrequency treatments in patients with implantable electrical medical devices. However, there is no experimental evidence of electrical interference with the implanted devices. Our long experience strongly suggests that by following simple precautions, patients can benefit from radiofrequency pain-relieving procedures without any adverse events.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Radiofrequency is widely used in the treatment of chronic pain for its efficacy and low incidence of side effects and complications. Despite this, it is commonly believed that this kind of treatment could interfere with medical implantable devices. Potential interference between implanted devices such as pacemakers, defibrillators and spinal cord stimulators and the radiofrequency of neurotomy is an important concern for physicians caring for patients with these devices.

METHODS: A retrospective study was conducted on 30 radiofrequency-treated patients, collected in five years out of more than 1,000 patients treated. Our cohort was selected due to the presence of implanted medical devices. Treatments include the radiofrequency neurotomy of the lumbar facet joints, intervertebral discs, sacroiliac joint and peripheral nerves.

RESULTS: Out of 30 patients and 68 treatments, global radiofrequency ablation was considered safe, due to the absence of any problem during or after the procedure. In particular, procedures were never interrupted because of electrical interference with the implanted devices or for problems attributable to an aberrant activation of them. Neurological and physical exam did not show any alteration after the procedure.

CONCLUSION: There are several theoretical concerns about radiofrequency treatments in patients with implantable electrical medical devices. However, there is no experimental evidence of electrical interference with the implanted devices. Our long experience strongly suggests that by following simple precautions, patients can benefit from radiofrequency pain-relieving procedures without any adverse events.

Get Citation

Keywords

radiofrequency ablation, chronic pain, cardiac pacemakers, spinal cord stimulation, medical devices, radiofrequency treatment

About this article
Title

Radiofrequency neurotomy for the treatment of chronic pain: interference with implantable medical devices

Journal

Anaesthesiology Intensive Therapy

Issue

Vol 46, No 3 (2014 Jul-Aug)

Pages

162-165

DOI

10.5603/AIT.2014.0029

Bibliographic record

Anaesthesiol Intensive Ther 2014;46(3):162-165.

Keywords

radiofrequency ablation
chronic pain
cardiac pacemakers
spinal cord stimulation
medical devices
radiofrequency treatment

Authors

Massimo Barbieri
Martina Bellini

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