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Revista Brasileira de Anestesiologia

Print version ISSN 0034-7094

Abstract

SANTOS, Alysson Bruno Oliveira  and  GOZZANI, Judymara Lauzi. Acupuncture as adjuvant therapy in thalamic syndrome: case report. Rev. Bras. Anestesiol. [online]. 2011, vol.61, n.1, pp. 91-94. ISSN 0034-7094.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-70942011000100010.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Cerebrovascular diseases are responsible for a large proportion of deaths in the world. Among survivors, the majority of limiting sequelae observed is motor in origin; but when sensorial pathways or centers are affected patients can evolve with sensorial changes in the body region represented by the area of the brain affected. When the affected area is related to the thalamus the patient might develop thalamic syndrome. The objective of this report was to demonstrate the use of electroacupuncture as adjuvant in the treatment of central pain, diagnosed as thalamic syndrome difficult to control with pharmacologic therapy. CASE REPORT: This is a 46 year-old female with history of ischemic stroke in the left temporoparietal region in April 2003 that evolved to right hemiparesis and hemitaxia. One year later, the patient developed continuous, insidious pain on the right side of the body with allodynia and hyperalgia, diagnosed as thalamic syndrome. In January 2006, she was admitted to the department of pain therapy and palliative care of Santa Casa de Misericórdia de São Paulo where pharmacologic treatment was instituted with poor response; she was scheduled for neurofunctional surgery. In July 2009, electroacupuncture, in an attempt to obtain better pain control, was proposed to the patient. Electroacupuncture was done on points in the scalp. After the 11th session, her pain was controlled, with no use of opioids or topical amitriptyline, her well-being had increased, her motor coordination improved, she presented global pain reduction, complete in hand and face. CONCLUSIONS: The efficacy of electroacupuncture in pain control and well-being are in agreement with modern studies which demonstrated activation of antinociceptive pathways in the brain. Controlled prospective studies are required to reaffirm and consolidate electroacupuncture as an important technique in controlling central pain.

Keywords : Acupuncture Analgesia; Electroacupuncture; Pain; Stroke.

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