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.