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Background and Aims Despite the frequent use of sympathetic blocks (SB) in clinical practice, there is a lack of objective end-point monitors to evaluate the success of SB. Our study aims to compare Infrared (FLIR) images obtained by a thermal camera before and after SB as an objective method to evaluate the quality of SB in CRPS patients.
Methods We compared the FLIR images before and after SB in 25 patients. The primary outcome was ≥ 1 °C improvement in the affected limb by FLIR camera in at least 50% of patients at a 5-minute time point after the completion of the block. The secondary outcomes were postprocedural improvement in NRS and clinical signs of CRPS.
Results According to our preliminary data, the temperature increase before and after the SB varied between -1°C and +9 °C. The number of patients with ≥ 1 °C temperature increase in the affected limb following SB measured by FLIR camera was 19/25. The most common temperature increases were 0-0.5°C (4/25) and 1-1.5°C (4/25). The highest temperature increase was 8.5-9 °C in one patient. There was no significant correlation between temperature increase vs. improvement in NRS or clinical signs of CRPS.
Conclusions Thermal FLIR camera is a promising and non-invasive end-point monitor to demonstrate the achievement of sympathetic block in the affected limb following sympathetic blocks.
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