More MS news articles for Feb 2002

Functional improvement in patients with severe spinal spasticity treated with chronic intrathecal baclofen infusion

Funct Neurol 2001 Oct-Dec;16(4):311-5
Dario A, Scamoni C, Bono G, Ghezzi A, Zaffaroni M.
Department of Neurosurgery, Unit of Neurology, Ospedale di Circolo, Varese, Italy.

In this retrospective study we evaluated the efficacy and functional benefits of chronic intrathecal baclofen infusion in severe spinal spasticity.

Twenty patients with a diagnosis of severe intractable spinal spasticity were evaluated prior to implantation of a programmable pump for chronic intrathecal baclofen therapy and at follow up, which ranged from 12 to 36 months (mean 22.4 months).

The mean age of the patients was 39.1 years. The prevailing pathology was multiple sclerosis.

All were unable to walk.

Patient assessment was based on the Ashworth Scale, the Spasms Frequency Scale, self-reported pain and Functional Independence Measure (FIM) scores.

The Wilcoxon test was used for statistical analysis.

A statistically significant decrease in muscle tone, spasms and pain was observed in all the patients.

The Ashworth score decreased from 4.4 to 1.8, the spasms frequency score from 2.5 to 0.5 and the self-reported pain score from 5.5 to 2.3.

The FIM score also showed a statistically significant change (increasing from a mean of 33.8 to 58.7).

Two patients in employment were able to return to work. No severe side effects were observed.

Chronic intrathecal baclofen infusion was seen to produce a functional improvement in patients with severe spinal spasticity, particularly as regards bathing, comfortable wheelchair sitting and mobility.