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Revista de la Sociedad Española del Dolor

versión impresa ISSN 1134-8046


ORDUNA GONZALEZ, M.J.; LOPEZ CARBALLO, C.; CAMBLOR SUAREZ, E.  y  LOPEZ ROUCO, M.. Epidural pain treatment in peripheral vascular ischemia: (II). Rev. Soc. Esp. Dolor [online]. 2009, vol.16, n.3, pp.160-181. ISSN 1134-8046.

Introduction: Peripheral arterial ischemia can be caused by several diseases that compromise limb vascularization, leading to pain and disability and impairing quality of life. Critical ischemia produces substantial morbidity and mortality, as well as chronic pain. Objective: To perform a critical literature review of scientific publications on epidural analgesia to control pain due to peripheral vascular ischemia and on its vascular trophic effects, to compare this treatment modality with other analgesic techniques, and to describe several epidural analgesia strategies and their results. Material and methods: We searched MEDLINE for articles on epidural analgesia and pain in the context of peripheral arterial ischemia to gather data for subsequent critical analysis, following the criteria of evidence-based medicine. Results: a) Analgesia with epidural drug infusion in limb ischemia only reached level 4 evidence in the present review; b) lumber epidural anesthesia for surgical revascularization of the lower extremities is associated with lower rates of postoperative thrombosis and revascularization reinterventions than general anesthesia (level 2b evidence); c) there is no conclusive scientific evidence supporting the use of preventive epidural analgesia of chronic pain syndromes after amputation of ischemic limbs, and d) the application of epidural spinal cord stimulation in critical atherosclerotic occlusive ischemia of non-reconstructible limbs using surgical techniques is supported by level I evidence. In Buerger's disease, Raynaud's disease and vasospastic disorders, the application of epidural electrical stimulation is supported by level 4 evidence. Conclusions: a) In peripheral arterial ischemia caused by vasospastic disorders, inflammatory disorders or small vessel thrombosis, maximal analgesic and trophic therapeutic effects can be achieved from epidural administration of local anesthetics; b) in some patients with non-reconstructible critical limb ischemia, spinal cord stimulation can represent the last therapeutic option to avoid limb amputation, with acceptable associated pain relief, and c) there are still myths on the use of epidural analgesia in peripheral arterial ischemia, such as its possible protective effect against systemic complications in anesthetic revascularization procedures or its role in the prevention of post-amputation pain, which have not been demonstrated in the scientific studies published to date.

Palabras clave : Peripheral vascular ischemia; Ischemic pain; Epidural therapy; Spinal cord stimulation.

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