04 December 2008

ITB pump implanted in spastic patient

KOCHI: A team of doctors at the Lourdes Hospital here claim to have successfully implanted the first intrathecal baclofen pump in a patient in the State. Headed by Bobby Varkey Maramattom, Head of the Department of Neurology and Interventional Neurology, the team employed the new intrathecal baclofen (ITB) therapy to bring relief to the patient.

According to doctors, ITB therapy is a treatment for individuals with severe spasticity – tight, stiff muscles, which can be a symptom of cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, spinal cord injury or stroke.

It delivers a medication called baclofen directly to the intrathecal space where fluid grows around the spinal cord. Dr. Varkey says the medication is administered in small doses using the SynchroMed programmable pump, which is placed under the skin of the abdomen and connected to a catheter.

The pump and catheter deliver baclofen directly to the spinal fluid in miniscule doses, where it is most effective.

Doctors say that SynchroMed is the only surgically placed drug infusion system that can be programmed from outside body.

When necessary, a clinician uses an external programmer to adjust the drug dose. The programming is usually done every three months when the pump is refilled.

Besides Dr. Varkey, the team consisted of Rajesh Kumar, Sudheer Y. and Celin George.

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