This study assessed which symptoms are most impacted following stellate ganglion block (SGB) used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. 30 active military service members with combat-related PTSD self-referred to their physician and psychologist. Patients were offered a SGB as part of their treatment program. Primary outcome was the magnitude of change for the 17 items on the PTSD Checklist-Military (PCL-M), which was administered the week before SGB, 1 week after SGB, and 2 to 4 months later. Mean PCL-M score decreased from 49 at baseline to 32, 1 week after the procedure (p < 0.001). 2 to 4 months after SGB, patients maintained an average PCL-M of 32. Patients reported greatest improvement in the first week after SGB for the following symptoms: irritability or angry outbursts, difficulty concentrating, and sleep disturbance. 2 to 4 months later, patients reported greatest improvement in the following: feeling distant or cut off, feeling emotionally numb, irritability or angry outbursts, and difficulty concentrating. SGB is a safe procedure that may provide extended relief for all clusters of PTSD symptoms. As a result of the significant reduction in hyperarousal and avoidance symptoms observed, this study supports incorporation of SGB into PTSD treatment plans.
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