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Three-phase Bone Scintigraphy Can Predict the Analgesic Efficacy of Ketamine Therapy in CRPS

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The efficacy of ketamine in relieving complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) lacks predictive factors. The value of three-phase bone scintigraphy (TPBS) was assessed for this purpose.

Materials and Methods:

TPBS was performed in 105 patients with unilateral, focal CRPS of type 1 before 5 days of ketamine infusions. Tracer uptake was measured in the region of interest concerned by CRPS and the contralateral homologous region. For the 3 scintigraphic phases (vascular, tissular, and bone phases), an asymmetry ratio of fixation was calculated between the affected and the unaffected sides (vascular phase [VPr], tissular phase [TPr], and bone phase [BPr]). Ketamine efficacy was assessed on pain intensity scores.


Ketamine-induced pain relief did not correlate with VPr, TPr, and BPr, but with the ratios of these ratios: BPr/TPr (r=0.32, P=0.009), BPr/VPr (r=0.34, P=0.005), and TPr/VPr (r=0.23, P=0.02). The optimum cut-off value for predicting the response to ketamine therapy was >1.125 for BPr/TPr, >1.075 for BPr/VPr, and >0.935 for TPr/VPr. The combination of increased values of BPr/TPr, BPr/VPr, and TPr/VPr was highly significantly associated with ketamine therapy outcome.


The relative hyperfixation of the radioactive tracer in the limb region concerned by CRPS in phases 2 and 3 versus phase 1 of TPBS correlated positively to the analgesic efficacy of ketamine. This study shows for the first time the potential predictive value of TPBS regarding ketamine therapy outcome. In addition, these results suggest that the analgesic action of ketamine is not restricted to “central” mechanisms, but may also involve “peripheral” mechanisms related to tissue inflammation and bone remodeling.
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Keywords: complex regional pain syndrome; ketamine; pain; prognosis; scintigraphy; treatment

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Pain Center, Nemours Hospital, Nemours Cedex, Faculty of Medicine, Henri Mondor Hospital, Neurology Department 2: Pain Center, Nemours Hospital, Nemours Cedex 3: ELISE Nuclear Medicine Center, Montargis Hospital, Amilly, France 4: Faculty of Medicine, Henri Mondor Hospital, Clinical Neurophysiology Department, Henri Mondor Hospital, Créteil Cedex

Publication date: September 1, 2018

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