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A. Leland Albright, Richard Gilmartin, Dale Swift, Linda E. Krach, Cindy B. Ivanhoe and John F. McLaughlin

Object. The goal of this study was to ascertain the long-term effectiveness and safety of intrathecal baclofen (ITB) in the treatment of spasticity of cerebral origin in children and young adults.

Methods. A prospective, multicenter study was conducted in 68 patients who had been enrolled in the initial evaluation of ITB therapy and were willing to participate in long-term surveillance. Seventy-three percent of the patients were younger than 16 years of age at the time of study entry. The patients were examined at least every 3 months and were observed for an average of 70 months. At each follow-up visit, spasticity in the upper and lower extremities was evaluated by applying Ashworth scores. All adverse events and complications were recorded on standardized data forms.

Spasticity in both upper and lower extremities decreased significantly (p < 0.005) and remained decreased up to 10 years. The dosage of ITB increased from a mean of 157 (µg/day 3 months after pump insertion to 300 (µg/day at 2 years postimplantation, and remained relatively stable thereafter. There were no significant differences in ITB dosage in children of different ages. Adverse events potentially related to ITB therapy occurred in 50% of patients within 2 months after pump insertion and in 50% of patients thereafter; hypotonia and lethargy were the two most common adverse events. The most common complications of surgery were catheter-related problems (31%), seromas (24%), and cerebrospinal fluid leaks (15%).

Conclusions. Intrathecal baclofen provides effective long-term treatment of spasticity of cerebral origin and its effects do not appear to diminish with time. This therapy is frequently associated with adverse side effects that usually can be alleviated by adjustments in dosage.

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A. Leland Albright, Yasser Awaad, Michael Muhonen, William R. Boydston, Richard Gilmartin, Linda E. Krach, Michael Turner, Kathryn A. Zidek, Ed Wright, Dale Swift and Karen Bloom

Object. The objectives of this multicenter study were to monitor the performance of a 10-ml pump infusing intrathecal baclofen to treat 100 children with cerebral spasticity, to monitor complications associated with the pump, and to correlate pump-related complications with body habitus.

Methods. Age at implantation of the pump ranged from 1.4 to 16.8 years (mean 8.1 years). The effects of ITB on spasticity in the upper and lower extremities were evaluated using the Ashworth Scale. Data were collected regarding implant site, infection, complication, and body mass index (BMI). Ashworth Scale scores decreased significantly in the upper and lower extremities at 6 and 12 months after pump implantation (p < 0.001). There were four serious system-related complications, all specific to catheters. There were 32 serious procedure-related complications in 21 patients: 11 complications were infections that occurred in nine patients. Four of nine pump-induced infections were treated with pump removal and antibiotic therapy; five infections were treated successfully with antibiotic therapy alone, without pump removal. In children younger than 8 years of age there was a significantly higher incidence of serious procedure-related adverse events than in older children. There was no significant correlation between BMI and the incidence of pump pocket—related complications or infections.

Conclusions. The 10-ml pump can be used therapeutically in small children, particularly those weighing less than 40 lbs, with greater ease and less wound tension, than the conventional 18-ml pump. The incidence of complications associated with the 10-ml pump in younger children appears to be similar to that previously reported with the 18-ml pump in larger-sized children.