Clinical Neuroscience

[Effects of spinal cord stimulation on heart rate variability in patients with chronic pain]

KALMÁR Zsuzsanna, KOVÁCS Norbert, BALÁS István, PERLAKI Gábor, PLÓZER Enikõ, ORSI Gergely, ALTBACKER Anna, SCHWARCZ Attila, HEJJEL László, KOMOLY Sámuel, JANSZKY József

MARCH 30, 2013

Clinical Neuroscience - 2013;66(03-04)

[Background - Spinal cord stimulation has become an established clinical option for treatment of refractory chronic pain and angina pectoris, but its precise mechanism of action is unclear. We investigated the effect of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) on heart rate variability (HRV) and evaluating its influence on the sympathetic/parasympathetic balance in chronic pain. Materials and purpose - Seven patients (three men, four women) with SCS due to chronic pain were included. The SCS was programmed in three different ways: (i) to stimulate at an amplitude known to generate paresthesias (ON-state), (ii) at a subliminal level (SUB state), or (iii) switched off (OFFstate). HRV analysis was based on 5-min segments of the consecutive normal RR intervals and was performed with custom software (Kubios HRV Analysis). Results - The mean heart rate was higher in ON state compared to SUB state (p=0.018) and the high-frequency component of the HRV was lower in ON compared to OFF period (p=0.043). Other HRV parameters values did not significantly differ during the three tested periods. Conclusion - Spinal cord stimulation in chronic pain seems to be accompanied by reduced parasympathetic tone, unlike SCS in angina pectoris where previous studies found a reduced cardiac sympathetic tone. Our study might lead to understand the mechanism of action of SCS We investigated a relatively small number of patients, which is the main limitation of our study. Thus, further studies with larger number of patients are required for validation of our results.]



Further articles in this publication

Clinical Neuroscience

[Antiepileptic drugs in treatment of epilepsy and follow up of their efficacy]

GYIMESI Csilla, BÓNÉ Beáta, TÓTH Márton, HORVÁTH Réka, KOMOLY Sámuel, JANSZKY József

[Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological diseases usually demanding long term treatment. The prime goal of therapy is to achieve seizure freedom with avoidance of side effects. Precise diagnosis is fundamental selecting the proper antiepileptic drug(s). In addition of wide-spectrum antiepileptics, selective syndrome-specific antiepileptic drugs are available. Pharmacological features of the new antiepileptics allow more personalized clinical use. Aim of this paper is to provide a comprehensive pragmatic review of therapeutic possibilities and recommendations currently accessible in Hungary.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Inclusion body myositis - a rarely recognized disorder]


[Inclusion body myositis is the most common disabling inflammatory myopathy in the elderly. It is more frequent in men and after the age of 50 years. Inflammatory and degenerative features coexist. There is a T-cell mediated autoimmunity driven by in situ clonally expanded cytotoxic CD8-positive T-cells invading non-necrotic muscle fibres expressing MHC-I antigen. The hallmarks of degeneration are the deposition of protein aggregates and the formation of vesicles. The course of the disease is slow and the diagnosis is usually set after several years. The muscle weakness and wasting is assymetric, affecting predominantly distal muscles of the upper extremity and proximal muscles of the legs. The signs and clinical course can be characteristic, but the diagnosis is established by muscle biopsy. There is currently no evidence based effective treatment for sIBM. Prednisone, azathioprine, methotrexate, cyclosporine and IFN-β failed. Oxandrolon did not improve symptoms. Treatment with intravenous immunglobuline (IVIG) induced in some patients a transient improvement of swallowing and of muscle strenght, but the overall study results were negative. A T-cell depleting monoclonal antibody (alemtuzumab), in a small uncontrolled study slowed down disease progression for a six-month period. Repeated muscle biopsies showed the reduction of T-cells in the muscle and the suppression of some degeneration associated molecules. An effective therapeutic mean should act on both aspects of the pathomechanism, on the inflammatory and the degenerative processes as well.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[10 years, 600 monitoring sessions - our experience with the video EEG monitoring of children]


[Introduction- The only Hungarian video EEG laboratorywhere children of ages 0-18 can be continuously monitoredfor several days was opened 1 June 2001 at Department ofNeurology of Bethesda Children’s Hospital.Objectives- Summarizing our 10 years of experience withthe video EEG monitoring (VEM) of children and defining theplace of VEM in the treatment of childhood epilepsy inHungary.Patients and methods- We have processed data from 597monitoring sessions on 541 patients between June 1, 2001and 31 May, 2011 based on our database and the detailedsummaries of the procedures. Results- 509 patients were under the age of 18. The average length of the sessions was 3.1 days. We haveobserved habitual episodes or episodes in question in 477(80%) sessions. 241 (40%) sessions were requested with anepilepsy surgery indication, and 74 patients had 84 opera-tions. 356 (60%) were requested with a differential diagnosisindication, and 191 (53%) cases of epilepsy werediagnosed. We most commonly diagnosed symptomaticgeneralized epilepsy (57 cases). In 165 sessions the episodein question was not diagnosed as epilepsy. Among theparoxysmal episodes we have identified events ofpsychogenic origin, movement disorders, sleep disordersand behavioral disorders. Only 3% of the differential diag-nosis procedures brought no additional clinical information.Discussion- The diagnostic efficiency in our VEM laborato-ry is in accordance with the data found in the literature.Besides epilepsy surgery VEM is recommended if suspectedepileptic episodes occur and interictal epileptiform signs arenot present or are not in accordance with the symptoms, ifthere is no explanation for therapy resistance and if paroxys-mal episodes of non-epileptic origin are suspected but theycannot be identified based on the anamnesis. VEM is also helpful in diagnosing subtle seizures. The procedure hasnumerous additional benefits in patient care and in trainingthe parents and hospital staff. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Efficacy of deep brain stimulation in our patients with Parkinson’s disease]

GERTRÚD Tamás, TAKÁTS Annamária, RADICS Péter, RÓZSA Ildikó, CSIBRI Éva, RUDAS Gábor, GOLOPENCZA Péter, ENTZ László, FABÓ Dániel, ERÕSS Loránd

[Background and purposes - In advanced Parkinson’s disease, medically refractory motor fluctuation or medically resistant tremor considerably affects quality of life. However, these symptoms can be mostly successfully treated by deep brain stimulation. We analyzed the efficacy of bilateral subthalamic stimulation in our patients with Parkinson’s disease. Methods - We assessed the clinical data of ten patients who have been treated in the Department of Neurology, Semmelweis University and have been operated in the National Institute of Neurosciences between 2008 and 2011. The Hoehn-Yahr scale score, the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale score and the Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire 39, as well as the dose of antiparkinson medication were documented prior to and one year after surgery. Results - Patient condition improved according to the Hoehn-Yahr scale, approximately by two stages. The dose of antiparkinson medication could be reduced by 63.4% (p=0.005) post operation. Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale scores decreased by 70.9% (p=0.005). 12 hours after medication withdrawal, execution of daily activity improved by 57.1% (p<0.01) and motor functions developed by 79.1% (p<0.01). Duration of dyskinesias decreased by 62.5% (p=0.018), duration of akinesia diminished by 87.5% (p=0.005). Quality of life rose by 41.6% (p<0.01). Neuropsychological tests detected improvement in verbal memory. Conclusion - With deep brain stimulation, the dosage of antiparkinson medication could be significantly reduced, with considerable improvements in motor function and quality of life. Although the number of patients is still low, good results have been established by careful patient selection, precise neurosurgical procedure and by appropriate programming and patient care.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Application of minimally invasive instrumental spine surgery technique in lumbal diseases of degenerative or traumatic origin]

SCHWARCZ Attila, KASÓ Gábor, BÜKI András, DÓCZI Tamás

[Paradigm change has recently taken place in spine surgery with the application of minimally invasive techniques. Minimally invasive techniques have several advantages over the open traditional techniques: less blood loss, preservation of spine muscle integrity, shorter hospitalization, early mobilization, reduced pain levels, lower risk of infection. The presented cases cover following lumbar pathologies: segmental spinal instability, LV-SI grade II. spondylolisthesis, degenerative spondylolisthesis, spine trauma. Unilateral or bilateral mini-open technique was employed in the degenerative cases, depending on symptoms and signes. If unilateral symptoms - pathology was identified, screws and rod were implanted percutaneously on the side contralateral to the pathology. The segmental fusion between vertebral bodies was always assured by a cage and autologous bone. The presented trauma case involved combined AO type A2 and B fractures. The anterior column was strengthened with vertebral body stents filled with bone cement, the posterior column was fixed with a percutaneously implanted screw rod system. Insertion of stents in the collapsed vertebra significantly increased the vertebral body height and also improved the stability of the spine. Minimally invasive spine surgery techniques appear more advantageous over the traditional open spine surgery that necessitates for large midline approaches.]

All articles in the issue

Related contents

Clinical Neuroscience

Autonomic nervous system may be affected after carpal tunnel syndrome surgery: A possible mechanism for persistence of symptoms after surgery

ONDER Burcu, KELES Yavuz Betul

After carpal tunnel surgery, some patients report complaints such as edema, pain, and numbness. Purpose – The aim of this study was to evaluate autonomic nervous system function in patients with a history of carpal tunnel surgery using sympathetic skin response (SSR). Thirty three patients (55 ±10 years old) with a history of unilateral operation for carpal tunnel syndrome were included in the study. The SSR test was performed for both hands. Both upper extremities median and ulnar nerve conduction results were recorded. A reduced amplitude (p=0.006) and delayed latency (p<0.0001) were detected in the SSR test on the operated side compared to contralateral side. There was no correlation between SSR and carpal tunnel syndrome severity. Although complex regional pain syndrome does not develop in patients after carpal tunnel surgery, some of the complaints may be caused by effects on the autonomic nervous system.


[Pain relief in the neurologist’s view]


[Pain, on the basis of its anatomical origin, can be nociceptive (somatic, visceral) or neuropathic, that is, occuring as a direct consequence of a lesion or disease affecting the somatosensory system. The past few years’ epidemiological studies showed that chronic neuropathic pain affects 7-8% of the general population. Diagnosis of neuropathic pain can be established without instrumental examinations, with the help of validated tests that can be used by any physician. Neuropathic pain greatly deteriorates the patients’ quality of life, and the effect of traditional analgesics is insufficient for its treatment. Thus, it is important to know those treatment procedures and drugs that have been proved to be efficient for relieving neuropathic pain.]

Hypertension and nephrology

[Place of rilmenidine therapy in reducing of sympathetic overactivity]

FINTA Ervin, KUN Edit, SIMONYI Gábor

[The sympathetic nervous system plays an important and widely investigated role in the pathogenesis of the hypertension and its concomitant diseases. Between the several types of antihypertensive drugs which can influence the sympathetic over activity, centrally acting agents, play an important role. Here some special aspects of the imidazoline I1 receptor agonist rilmenidine are reviewed.]

Hypertension and nephrology

[The advantages of a fixed combination of lisinopril with amlodipine in patients with primary hypertension]


[Background: The aim of the study was to examine the effect of amlodipine, lisinopril and a fixed low-dose combination of amlodipine + lisinopril on the performance of the daily profile, blood pressure variability and heart rate variability in patients with PH stage I-II, 1-2 degrees. The diagnosis of PH was made in accordance with the classification of JNC USA in 2003, ESH, ESH 2007 on the basis of careful clinical and instrumental investigations. Methods: The study included 75 PH patients who were divided into three groups depending on the medication received. The first group included 23 patients treated with lisinopril, the second included 27 patients treated with amlodipine, and the third included 25 patients receiving a fixed combination of amlodipine + lisinopril. Drugs were administered once daily with dose titration for lisinopril effective for 10 to 20 mg (mean 15.6±2.2 mg), for amlodipine 5 to 10 mg (mean 7.8±1.1 mg), and Lisonorm administered in a standard fixed dose (lisinopril 10 mg, amlodipine 5 mg), once in the morning. Controlled treatment lasted for 12 weeks. The study used daily blood pressure monitoring and ECG Holter monitoring methods. Results: A comparison of side effects found that combined therapy significantly reduced the number of adverse reactions. For all three groups, treatment resulted in a significant decrease in the average daily, daytime and night-time BP values and in the variability of systolic and diastolic BP. With combined therapy, these changes were more significant. Conclusion: These positive changes appear to be due to the fact that combination therapy can affect several parts of the pathogenetic development of hypertension, compared with the effects of monotherapy, with superior results. In the combination therapy, lisinopril levelled the sympathetic stimulation of amlodipine by blocking the activity of the sympathoadrenal and renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system.]

Clinical Neuroscience

A clinical study of an online educational programme for chronic pain patients

GALAMBOS Wellingerné Krisztina, SZOK Délia, CSABAI Márta

Background - The research of alexithymia - the inability to express or understand emotions - has recently become of great importance in clinical practice, mainly in the field of doctor-patient and psychologist patient communication. Many studies have proven the correlation between alexithymia and the development of functional somatic symptoms, i.e. somatization. Purpose - The aim of this clinical study was to examine the emotion-recognition and emotion communication patterns of patients suffering from chronic pain (e.g., headache, low back pain, arthralgia, neuropathy). Moreover, the participants received access to the Hungarian adaptation of a new international online educational site ( dealing with pain management. Methods - Data were collected from the Headache and Chronic Pain Outpatient Clinic, Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Szeged, Hungary (tertiary care - Group 1) and from a general practice in district 2, Budapest, Hungary (primary care - Group 2) from March, 2017 to April, 2018. Patients received a test package containing a pain-specific questionnaire, then the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS), the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), and the shortened Hungarian version of the WHO-Well-being (WBI-5) had to be completed. After filling out the questionnaires, all patients got access to the Hungarian adaptation of the website. Results - Altogether 92 patients participated in the study (Group 1 n=50; Group 2 n=42). Based on the TAS-20 re­sults, 35 patients reached a pathological score (≥60 points), which indicates the diagnosis of alexithymia. The mean TAS-score was lower in Group 2 (primary care) than in Group 1 (tertiary care) (p=0.003). The DERS disclosed pathological results in 19 cases (p=0.009). As regards the chapters, we received feedback only from 25 out of 92 patients (27%) (Group 1 n=20; Group 2 n=5). Conclusions - Although the examined patients have been suffering from different chronic pain syndromes for years and 50% of them confirmed that symptoms placed at least moderate or heavy burden on their everyday life, the available educational programme was studied only by a smaller proportion of patients than expected. Additionally, those who surveyed the Hungarian adaptation of the website were mainly patients from primary care (Group 2), in spite of the fact that patients from specialized medical care (Group 1) had worse subjective conditions. Our future objective is to extend our database with follow-up results and to improve patients’ response willingness.