Treatment of cerebral ischemia with electrical stimulation of the cervical spinal cord

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 1991 Jan;14(1):122-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8159.1991.tb04056.x.


We observed an increase in cerebral blood flow (CBF) for control of pain but were otherwise normal. Based on that observation, we implanted stimulators for cervical spinal cord stimulation (cSCS) in three patients who had symptomatic cerebral ischemia. Two had severe basivertebral occlusive disease and one had bilateral carotid occlusive disease. In all three cases, cSCS alleviated the symptoms of ischemia. Xenon-CBF studies or single-photon emission computer tomography (SPECT) showed increased CBF in response to cSCS. Although no mechanism clearly responsible for this remarkable therapeutic efficacy can be proposed yet, further clinical trials of cSCS for inoperable cerebral ischemia may be justified.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Ischemia / therapy*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy* / instrumentation
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriosclerosis / complications
  • Male
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • Spinal Cord / physiology*