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Published August 2014 | Published
Journal Article Open

Microcirculatory changes identified by photoacoustic microscopy in patients with complex regional pain syndrome type I after stellate ganglion blocks


Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain syndrome that causes intractable pain, disability, and poor quality of life for patients. The etiology and pathophysiology of CRPS are still poorly understood. Due to a lack of proper diagnostic tools, the prognosis of CRPS is primarily based on clinical observation. The objective of this work is to evaluate a new imaging modality, photoacoustic microscopy (PAM), for assisting diagnoses and monitoring the progress and treatment outcome of CRPS. Blood vasculature and oxygen saturation (sO_2) were imaged by PAM from eight adult patients with CRPS-1. Patients' hands and cuticles were imaged both before and after stellate ganglion block (SGB) for comparison. For all patients, both vascular structure and sO_2 could be assessed by PAM. In addition, more vessels and stronger signals were observed after SGB. The results show that PAM can help diagnose and monitor CRPS.

Additional Information

© 2014 SPIE. Paper 140358R received Jun. 5, 2014; revised manuscript received Aug. 1, 2014; accepted for publication Aug. 1, 2014; published online Aug. 21, 2014. This work was sponsored in part by National Institutes of Health grants DP1 EB016986 (NIH Director's Pioneer Award), R01 CA186567 (NIH Director's Transformative Research Award), and R01 CA159959. L.V. W. has a financial interest in Microphotoacoustics, Inc. and Endra, Inc., which, however, did not support this work; K.I. M. has a financial interest in Microphotoacoustics, Inc.

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