Angina pectoris, cardiac pain associated with ischemia, is considered refractory when optimal anti-anginal therapy fails to resolve symptoms. It is associated with a decreased life expectancy and diminishes the quality of life. Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) may be considered for patients who have also undergone comprehensive interventions, such as coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) and percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) procedures. The mechanism of action of SCS is not entirely clear. Pain reduction is related to the increased release of inhibitory neuropeptides as well as normalization of the intrinsic nerve system of the heart muscle, and may have a protective myocardial effect. SCS in patients with refractory angina pectoris results in reduced anginal attacks as well as improved rate pressure product prior to the occurrence of ischemic events. This may be the result of reduced Myocardial Volume Oxygen (MVO2) and possibly the redistribution of the coronary blood flow to ischemic areas. There are a number of studies that demonstrate that SCS does not mask acute myocardial infarction. The efficacy of the treatment has been investigated in two prospective, randomized studies. The long-term results showed an improvement of the symptoms and of the quality of life. SCS can be an alternative to surgical intervention in a selected patient population. In addition, SCS is a viable option in patients in whom surgery is not possible. SCS is recommended in patients with chronic refractory angina pectoris that does not respond to conventional treatment and in whom revascularization procedures have been attempted or not possible, and who are optimized from a medical perspective. © 2011 The Authors. Pain Practice

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Pain Practice
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Kleef, M., Staats, P., Mekhail, N., & Huygen, F. (2011). 24.Chronic Refractory Angina Pectoris. Pain Practice, 11(5), 476–482. doi:10.1111/j.1533-2500.2010.00444.x