Outcomes of intrathecal baclofen therapy in patients with cerebral palsy and acquired brain injury

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Abstract

Intrathecal baclofen (ITB) has been known to reduce spasticity which did not respond to oral medications and botulinum toxin treatment. However, few results have been reported comparing the effects of ITB therapy in patients with cerebral palsy (CP) and acquired brain injury. This study aimed to investigate beneficial and adverse effects of ITB bolus injection and pump therapy in patients with CP and to compare outcomes to patients with acquired brain injury such as traumatic brain injury and hypoxic brain injury. ITB test trials were performed in 37 patients (19 CP and 18 acquired brain injury). Based on ambulatory function, CP patients were divided into 2 groups: 11 patients with nonambulatory CP and 8 patients with ambulatory CP. Change of spasticity was evaluated using the Modified Ashworth Scale. Additional positive or negative effects were also evaluated after ITB bolus injection. In patients who received ITB pump implantation, outcomes of spasticity, subjective satisfaction and adverse events were evaluated until 12 months post-treatment. After ITB bolus injection, 32 patients (86.5%) (CP 84.2% versus acquired brain injury 88.9%) showed a positive response of reducing spasticity. However, 8 patients with CP had negative adverse effects. Particularly, 3 ambulatory CP patients showed standing impairment and 1 ambulatory CP patient showed impaired gait pattern such as foot drop because of excessive reduction of lower extremity muscle tone. Ambulatory CP patients received ITB pump implantation less than patients with acquired brain injury after ITB test trials (P = .003 by a chi-squared test). After the pump implantation, spasticity was significantly reduced within 1 month and the effect maintained for 12 months. Seventeen patients or their caregivers (73.9%) were very satisfied, whereas 5 patients (21.7%) suffered from adverse events showed no subjective satisfaction. In conclusion, ITB therapy was effective in reducing spasticity in patients with CP and acquired brain injury. Before ITB pump implantation, it seems necessary to perform the ITB bolus injection to verify beneficial effects and adverse effects especially in ambulatory CP.

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