Objective Improvements in Peripheral Arterial Disease from Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulation: A Case Series

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Journal Title

Ann Vasc Surg


Background: The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is important in the regulation of perfusion. Dorsal root ganglion stimulation (DRG-S) modulates sympathetic tone and is approved to treat complex regional pain syndrome, a disorder related to SNS dysfunction. We herein present 3 cases of DRG-S therapy to improve blood flow and symptoms of ischemia in peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Methods: Patient 1 is a 44-year-old female with dry gangrene of the third and fourth digits of her right hand due to Raynaud's syndrome who was scheduled for amputation of the affected digits. DRG-S leads were placed at the right C6, 7, and 8 DRG. Pulse volume recordings (PVR) were measured at baseline and after DRG-S. Patient 2 is a 55-year-old female with a non-healing ulcer of her left foot secondary to PAD scheduled for a below the knee amputation who underwent a DRG-S trial with leads placed at the left L4 and L5 DRG followed by a spinal cord stimulation trial with leads placed at the T9–T10 spinal levels for comparison. Transcutaneous oximetry (TcPO2) was measured at baseline and after 3 days of each therapy. Patient 3 is a 69-year-old female with persistent left foot pain at rest secondary to PAD with DRG-S leads placed at the left L4 and S1 levels. Results: All 3 patients experienced a significant reduction in pain with DRG-S, along with improvements in blood flow of the involved extremities, avoiding or limiting amputation. PVR improved dramatically with DRG-S in patient 1. A greater improvement in TcPO2 was seen with the DRG-S trial compared to spinal cord stimulation trial in patient 2. Patient 3 experienced an increase in walking distance and demonstrated long term efficacy and limb salvage at 32 months postimplantation. Conclusions: Modulation of SNS output from DRG-S through orthodromic and antidromic autonomic pathways is likely responsible for improving blood flow. DRG-S may be a treatment option for PAD.

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School of Medicine

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