Electrical stimulator for cluster headaches.

Stimulation of the sphenopalatine ganglion seems to relieve cluster headaches according to a study by European neurologists. The study examined the efficacy of the on-demand sphenopalatine(SPG) stimulation in chronic cluster headache patients. 43 patients in this randomized controlled study were implanted with the ATI Neurostimulator System. Chronic cluster headache is a disabling neurological disorder that often does not respond to medical therapy. A previous study showed that this stimulator was effective for acute cluster headache pain relief and in some patients made their attacks less frequent. These patients also had clinically and statistically significant improvement in quality of life and reduction in headache disability.

The 43 patients in the current study were dissatisfied with their cluster headache treatment and 32 of them completed the one-year study with 23 continuing to use the stimulator beyond one year. At enrollment, 18 (78%) of patients indicated their overall evaluation of the ATI Neurostimulation System for treating their chronic cluster headaches as good or very good. 18 (78%) found SPG stimulation a useful therapy in treating their cluster headaches. 19 (83%) found surgical effects tolerable and the implanted neurostimulator comfortable or did not notice it and 23 (100%) found the stimulation sensation tolerable. 15 (65%) did not have significant side effects after stimulation. 21 (91%) would make the same decision again to treat their CH with the ATI Neurostimulation System, and 22 (96%) would recommend the ATI Neurostimulation System to someone else. 13 (57%) of patients experienced clinically significant improvement in headache disability and quality of life compared to baseline.

These results suggest that SPG stimulation with the ATI Neurostimulator is an effective therapy with sustained benefits and a high level of
patient satisfaction. This is an experimental device and is not available in the US. Even when it becomes available it would be more reasonable to try less invasive, even if not proven treatments, such as Botox injections. My experience treating chronic cluster headaches with Botox is only “anecdotal” (as opposed to that from large clinical trials) and involves a small number of patients, but nevertheless it has been very positive.

Art credit: JulieMauskop.com

1 comment
  1. Adam says: 08/16/201410:49 pm

    Maybe first alive American with ATI SPG stimulator for Cluster Headaches

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