Article: article from journal or magazin.
Chronic pain: a PET study of the central effects of percutaneous high cervical cordotomy.
Publication types: Comparative Study ; Journal Article ; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov'tPublication Status: ppublish
We have studied 5 patients with unilateral, severe chronic pain due to cancer before and after percutaneous, ventrolateral cervical cordotomy to investigate the central effects of the procedure. The aim was to identify the functional anatomical correlates of abolishing unilateral nociceptive input to the brain. Patients were investigated by positron emission tomography using C15O2 to evaluate cerebral blood flow. Comparisons were made between the patients with unilateral pain before cordotomy and normal volunteers. These demonstrated significantly less blood flow in 3 out of 4 of the individual quadrants of the hemithalamus contralateral to the side of pain (P less than 0.01-0.05). These differences were abolished by cordotomy. Comparison of the patients before and after cordotomy showed a significant decrease in blood flow in the dorsal anterior quadrant of the thalamus contralateral to the side of pain (P less than 0.05) which was normalised after cordotomy. There were no significant changes in the prefrontal or primary somatosensory cortex. We conclude that chronic pain results in a decrease of synaptic activity at thalamic level either from decreased activity in neurones projecting to that region and/or attenuated local neuronal firing. We have demonstrated no secondary remote effects in cortex, indicating the importance of subcortical mechanisms in central responses to chronic pain.
Aged, Cerebrovascular Circulation/physiology, Cervical Vertebrae, Cordotomy, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Neoplasms/physiopathology, Pain, Intractable/physiopathology, Pain, Intractable/radionuclide imaging, Palliative Care, Spinal Cord/physiopathology, Spinal Cord/radionuclide imaging, Thalamus/physiopathology, Thalamus/radionuclide imaging, Tomography, Emission-Computed
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