Defining Short- and Long-Term Programming Requirements in Patients Treated With 10-kHz Spinal Cord Stimulation

Neuromodulation. 2024 Jun 4:S1094-7159(24)00076-X. doi: 10.1016/j.neurom.2024.04.005. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: High-frequency spinal cord stimulation (10-kHz SCS) has been shown to be an effective treatment for refractory low back pain and neck pain with and without limb pain in clinical trial and real-world studies. However, limited information is available in the literature on the type and frequency of programming parameters required to optimize pain relief.

Materials and methods: Retrospective trial and postimplant clinical and system device data were analyzed from consecutive patients with neck pain and low back pain, with and without limb pain, from a single clinical site, including both thoracic and cervical lead placement. Best bipole, stimulation parameters, and outcomes, including pain relief, change in opioid medication use, sleep, and daily function, were analyzed.

Results: Of the 92 patients in the trial, 70 received a permanent implant. Of these, the mean duration of follow-up was 1.8 ± 1.3 years. Pain relief of ≥50% at the last follow-up was achieved by 64% of patients implanted; in addition, 65% reduced their opioid medication use; 65% reported improved sleep, and 71% reported improved function. There was some consistency between the "best" bipole at trial and permanent implant, with 82% of patients within one bipole location, including 54% of permanent implants who were using the same best bipole as at trial. After permanent implant, device reprogramming was minimal, with ≤one reprogramming change per patient per quarter required to maintain pain outcomes.

Conclusions: In the study, 10-kHz SCS was an effective therapy for treating chronic pain, whereby a high responder rate (≥50% pain relief) was achieved with short time to pain relief in trial and maintained with limited device programming after permanent implant. The data presented here provide insight into the programming required during the trial and implant stages to obtain and maintain therapeutic efficacy.

Keywords: 10 kHz; SCS; neuromodulation; pain; programming.