Management of CRPS secondary to preganglionic C8 nerve root avulsion: a case report and literature review
Ghaly R, Haroutunian A, Grigoryan G, Patricoski JA, Candido KD, Knezevic NN. Management of CRPS secondary to preganglionic C8 nerve root avulsion: A case report and literature review. Surg Neurol Int. 2020 Aug 29;11:262. doi: 10.25259/SNI_318_2020. PMID: 33024600; PMCID: PMC7533089
Background: Cervical nerve root avulsion is a well-documented result of high-velocity motor vehicle accidents (MVAs). In up to 21% of cases, preganglionic cervical root avulsion can result in a complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) impacting the quality of life for patients already impaired by motor, sensory, and autonomic dysfunction. The optimal treatment strategies include repeated stellate ganglion blocks (SBGs).
Case Description: A 43-year-old male sustained a high-velocity MVA resulting in the left C8 nerve root avulsion. This resulted in weakness in the C8 distribution, tactile allodynia, and dysesthesias. The magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated an abnormal signal ventral to the C8-T1 level. As the patient was not considered a candidate for surgical intervention secondary to the attendant brachial plexus injury, a C7-C8 epidural steroid injection was performed; this did not provide improvement. Before placing a spinal cord stimulator, the patient underwent a series of six ultrasound-guided SBGs performed 2 weeks apart; there was 75% improvement in pain and strength. Six years later, the patient continues to do well while receiving SBGs 4 times a year.
Conclusion: A preganglionic cervical nerve root avulsion should not be a contraindication for a stellate ganglion block in a patient with established CRPS.