Evaluation of Washout Periods After Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulation Trial

Neuromodulation. 2024 Mar 28:S1094-7159(24)00060-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neurom.2024.02.005. Online ahead of print.


Objective: Dorsal root ganglion stimulation (DRG-S) is a novel therapy to treat chronic pain. It has shown efficacy when delivered intermittently, suggesting a delayed washout effect exists. To measure the washout period, and to determine whether there are differences in washout times among different types of treated pain, we measured the time for pain to return at the end of the patients' one-week DRG stimulation trials.

Materials and methods: Patients who completed a successful DRG-S trial were included. The times until 25% (t25) and 90% (t90) of baseline pain level returned were recorded. The patients were divided into neuropathic, nociceptive, and mixed pain groups for subgroup comparison. t25 and t90 were plotted in the entire cohort and subgroups using reverse Kaplan-Meier plots (failure curves) and compared using a log-rank test.

Results: In total, 29 consecutive patients were included. Median t25 and t90 times were 7.1 and 19.5 hours, respectively. Median (interquartile range) times were longest for the nociceptive pain group (n = 17) and shortest for the neuropathic pain group (n = 6), with the mixed-pain group (n = 6) in between (t25: 7.1 [1.7-19.4], 3.40 [1.4-8.4], and 5.7 [0.8-17.6]; t90, 22.0 [10.7-71.0], 7.6 [3.6-19.8], and 20.9 [14.2-31.2], respectively). t90 times differed significantly by pain type (p = 0.040).

Conclusions: This study showed a prolonged washout period after cessation of DRG-S therapy. Washout times vary according to pain type. The observed effects are possibly due to long-term depression of pain signaling and could allow the implementation of alternative stimulation strategies with DRG-S. Further investigations evaluating DRG-S washout times are warranted.

Keywords: Dorsal root ganglion stimulation; long-term depression; washout.