Intrathecal baclofen therapy for stroke-related spasticity.
Journal - Topics in stroke rehabilitation (United States )
Intrathecal baclofen (ITB) therapy is a widely recognized management technique for severe, disabling spasticity in individuals with cerebral palsy and spinal and brain injuries. Its utility in the stroke population has only been recognized recently. Unlike the aforementioned patient populations, many stroke survivors are ambulatory and are able to maintain a certain degree of functional independence through compensatory use of the uninvolved limbs. Clinicians often fail to recognize the potential enhancement in the function of these individuals if they gain better control of their spastic limbs. Other spasticity treatments, such as oral medications and neurolytic procedures, offer the advantage of being nonsurgical; however, not every stroke patient will respond well to them. Some patients may not tolerate the systemic side effects of oral medications, such as drowsiness and sedation. In patients with severe multilimb spasticity, phenol and even high doses of botulinum toxin may not adequately control spasticity. ITB therapy offers the advantage of effectively decreasing severe, diffuse spasticity without causing untoward effects on arousal and cognition. This article will review the efficacy of ITB therapy in treating spasticity and enhancing function in stroke survivors.