Percutaneous renal sympathetic nerve ablation for loin pain haematuria syndrome

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Loin pain haematuria syndrome (LPHS) is a severe renal pain condition of uncertain origin and often resistant to treatment. Nephrectomy and renal autotrasplantation have occasionally been performed in very severe cases. Its pathogenesis is controversial. A 40-year-old hypertensive lady was diagnosed with LPHS after repeated diagnostic imaging procedures had ruled out any renal, abdominal or spinal conditions to justify pain. Notwithstanding treatment with three drugs, she had frequent hypertensive crises during which the loin pain was dramatically exacerbated. Vascular causes of the pain and hypertension were investigated and excluded. Her renal function was normal. The patient was referred to a multidisciplinary pain clinic, but had no significant improvement in her pain symptoms despite the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, adjuvant antidepressants and opioid-like agents. The pain and the discomfort were so severe that her quality of life was very poor, and her social and professional activities were compromised. Nephrectomy and renal autotransplantation have occasionally been performed in these cases. Since visceral pain signals flow through afferent sympathetic fibres, we felt that percutaneous catheter-based radiofrequency ablation of the renal sympathetic nerve fibres (recently introduced for the treatment of drug-resistant hypertension) could be valuable for pain relief. We treated the patient with radiofrequency ablation (Medtronic Symplicity Catheter) applied only to the right renal artery. After a 6-month follow-up, the patient is pain free and normotensive with all drugs withdrawn. She has experienced no hypertensive crises in the meantime. This observation suggests that percutaneous sympathetic denervation could prove to be an effective mini-invasive strategy for the treatment of chronic renal pain, and LPHS in particular.

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