A common anesethetic procedure may help those suffering from extreme forms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
The procedure, stellate ganglion block (SGB), has been used to treat pain and sleep disorders. The procedure involves a small amount of anesethesia injected in the base of the neck.
Michael T. Alkire, MD, a staff anesthesiologist at the Long Beach VA Healthcare System in California, conducted a small study of 12 patients with PTSD who were given SGB.
Patients were given one SGB and followed for six months after treatment. The positive effects of the SGB were evident often within minutes and resulted in significant improvement of scores for the Clinician Administered PTSD Score, the test used to measure the severity of PTSD, Alire reported at the Anesthesiology 2014 Annual Meeting.
Overall, 75% of participants reported significant improvement in PTSD symptoms after the treatment.
After just a month, most of the patients returned to normal to mild PTSD levels. Also, the positive effects of the treatment were still seen at three months, though mostly ended by six months.
"While it doesn’t cure the problem, we found that SGB appears to be a fast-acting and effective long-term treatment for chronic, extreme PTSD in veterans,” Alkire said in a statement. “These improvements far outlasted what we would expect from SGB, which is usually used as a temporary nerve block and typically lasts three to five hours.”
A small pilot study demonstrated that a common anesthetic procedure significantly helped veterans suffering from chronic, extreme post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Researchers followed 12 patients with PTSD who had undergone a simple anesthetic procedure called a stellate ganglion block (SGB). Overall, 75 % of the participants reported significant improvement of their PTSD symptoms after the SGB.