Complex regional pain syndrome type I after myocardial infarction treated with spinal cord stimulation

Reg Anesth Pain Med. 2003 May-Jun;28(3):245-7. doi: 10.1053/rapm.2003.50051.


Objective: A rare case of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) type I after myocardial infarction (MI) and significant comorbid illness with few treatment options for pain control was successfully managed with the placement of a spinal cord stimulator (SCS).

Case report: A 44-year-old man presented with left upper extremity burning pain after MI. His past medical history included insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, oxygen-dependent idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and recent coronary revascularization surgery. His pain was presumed to be related to his MI and a clinical diagnosis of CRPS type I (or reflex sympathetic dystrophy) was made. Facing limited medical and less invasive options for his pain relief, he underwent a spinal cord stimulation trial with excellent response. He had more than 70% pain relief from the spinal cord stimulation at the last follow-up, 2 years later.

Conclusion: CRPS type I after MI can be difficult to treat because of other comorbid illnesses. SCS can be a safe and effective mode of therapy for patients facing limited treatment options.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myocardial Infarction / complications*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / complications
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy / etiology*
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy / therapy*
  • Spinal Cord / physiology*