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Chronic Pain

Beneficial effects of ketamine in a chronic pain state with allodynia, possibly due to central sensitization

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The International Association for the Study of Pain. February 1995
JanPerssonaGudmundurAxelssonbRolf G.HallincLars L.Gustafssond
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ABSTRACT: Allodynia is a well-known component of neuropathic pain resulting from injury to the nervous system. Clinical pain states with allodynia in connection with longstanding superficial wounds have, however, not been reported in the literature. In this case a chronic pain state developed in a previously healthy 17-year-old girl in and around a persistently suppurating appendectomy wound. There was no spontaneous pain but pronounced allodynia in the wound and in the surrounding skin. Quantitative thermal tests showed abnormal thresholds for several sensory modalities confirming abnormal processing of sensory input from the involved area. The pattern of sensory abnormalities evaluated with thermal testing changed transiently and the allodynia diminished during a phentolamine block. Since the pain responded poorly to opioids and ketamine has been reported to reduce allodynia, it was administered in a sub-dissociative bolus dose during wound dressing. The wound was essentially unchanged after treatment for 3 months but the allodynia and sensory aberrations had decreased significantly. We interpret these results as a de-sensitizing effect in the long term of repeated NMDA-receptor blockade by ketamine in a chronic pain state, with indications of central sensitization, partially maintained by sympathetic activity.
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