Systemic Intravenous Lidocaine for the Treatment of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: A Case Report and Literature Review

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Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) was described in 1864 by Mitchell et al as a condition characterized by many unique symptoms. Although symptoms may differ from patient to patient, the most common complaints are painful swelling in upper or lower extremities or changes in the skin. CRPS has been given many different names since it was first mentioned in the literature in 1851. The most common alternative names include causalgia, aglodystrophy, and sympathetic dystrophy syndrome. This condition is generally diagnosed in older adults because of trauma, nerve damage, and coronary artery disease; however, there are cases of CRPS affecting the pediatric and young adult population. The fourth edition of the diagnostic and treatment guidelines of CRPS published by Harden et al in 2013 suggest many different pharmacologic treatment options for these patients. Intravenous lidocaine is used to block the sodium channels in neuronal membranes, thus stopping initiation and conduction of impulses associated with neuropathic and inflammatory pain. The use of regional intravenous lidocaine (by applying a tourniquet on the affected extremity) has been well-documented in the literature with a successful decrease in pain symptoms. A unique case of the use of systemic intravenous lidocaine will be presented.

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