Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is an injury to the spinal cord which affects the motor (movement), sensory or autonomic functions of the nerves either partially or fully. SCI is a broad term, which includes both traumatic and non-traumatic causes as well cauda equina lesions.
In the UK, approximately 2,500* people sustain a new SCI each year. Around 40-50% of SCI patients suffer from pain caused by the nervous system, known as neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain in SCI is constant and often unresponsive to available pain treatments.
A treatment called spinal cord stimulation (SCS) systems can be useful in treating the pain caused by SCI. This is where an implanted device sends small electrical fields to the spinal cord, masking areas of pain by altering the pain messages that the body sends to the brain.
The aim of this study is to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a SCS treatment called HF10 in alleviating long-term neuropathic pain in patients with SCI by following patients who have a HF10 device implanted as part of their usual care.
Professor Sam Eldabe was Chief Investigator of the HF10 therapy for the treatment of chronic pain resulting from spinal cord injury. Professor Eldabe said: “Participants undergo a trial of Spinal Cord Stimulation at 10 kHz (HF10 Therapy). Patients who have success from this then get a permanent device implanted.
“Spinal Cord Stimulation involves the surgical placement of two leads, which look like very thin wires, into a small area near the spinal cord. Electrical stimulation is delivered through these wires, in an attempt to provide pain relief, by a small, battery-operated, rechargeable SCS implanted generator.
“I am proud to lead life-changing medical technology research for spinal cord injuries.”
After the device is implanted, each patient was followed for 12 months after device activation. The participants attend regular clinic visits to complete questionnaires, and to provide feedback on their pain.
Sara Griffiths, Research Nurse said: “The difference this device has made to these patients has been life changing. It has reduced the need in some cases for the unpleasant side effects of painkillers and improved quality of life.
“Patients with spinal cord injuries have many complex needs and hopefully this device will be an additional treatment to offer in the future.”
“HF10 is a safe and established therapy that been used to treat over 55,000 chronic pain patients globally,” said David Caraway MD, PhD, chief medical officer of Nevro. “I applaud the work of the South Tees NHS Foundation trust and the skilled clinical team led by Professor Eldabe for their commitment to further our understanding about the benefits of HF10 Therapy to improve the quality of life for this difficult to treat patient population that is not commonly evaluated in clinical trials.”
*Data taken from https://www.spinal.co.uk/news/spinal-cord-injury-paralyses-someone-every-four-hours-new-estimates-reveal/