AbstractOBJECTIVEIn an effort to increase the effect of intrathecal baclofen on upper-extremity spasticity, the tip of the intrathecal catheter was placed at the T6-T7 level rather than at the traditional T11-T12 level in children with spastic quadriparesis.METHODSTwelve children with spastic quadriparesis from varying causes had significant reductions in spasticity after a test dose of intrathecal baclofen and subsequently underwent placement of a programmable pump and intrathecal catheter tip placed at the T6-T7 level with fluoroscopic guidance. With the use of Ashworth scores for four muscle groups in both the upper and lower extremities, degrees of spasticity were determined by a physiatrist preoperatively and at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively. Mean changes in upper- and lower- extremity Ashworth scores and baclofen dosages for the entire cohort were compared with published results in which the catheter tip had been placed at the T11-T12 level.RESULTSSpasticity was significantly reduced in all muscle groups (P < 0.001). The lower-extremity reduction in spasticity of 1.6 points at 3 and 12 months was greater than published reductions of 1.1 points at 3 and 12 months. The upper-extremity reduction in spasticity was noticeably greater at 3 and 12 months (1.7 and 2.0 points, respectively) than published results at 3 and 12 months (0.4 and 0.6 points, respectively). At 3, 6, and 12 months, our mean baclofen dosage remained below the dosages administered at the T11-T12 level. There were no complications related either to the positioning of the catheter higher in the spinal canal or to the administration of baclofen at the T6-T7 level.CONCLUSIONCompared with published results, placement of the tip of the intrathecal catheter at the T6-T7 level was associated with greater relief of upper-extremity spasticity without loss of effect on the lower extremities. The mean dosages of baclofen in our study group were lower compared with mean dosages administered at the T11-T12 level. There was no morbidity related to the more rostral location of the catheter.
Neurosurgery – Oxford University Press
Published: Oct 1, 1999
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