UAMS Neurosurgeon’s Study on Breakthrough Treatment for Painful Diabetic Neuropathy Published in Diabetes Care

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Erika Petersen, MD

Petersen, director of functional and restorative neurosurgery at UAMS, was the principal investigator of the study which involved 216 patients at 18 centers in the United States. Johnathan Goree, MD, associate professor in the department of anesthesiology at UAMS and director of the division of chronic pain, is a co-investigator of the study.

The study, for which UAMS began recruiting participants in 2018, looked at the results of high-frequency spinal cord stimulation therapy for patients with PDN, a chronic neurological disease that manifests as a burning, excruciating, throbbing, or intractable pain, or tingling or numbness. Specifically, the study compared 10 kHz treatment plus conventional medical management to the results of conventional treatment alone, and found that high-frequency therapy resulted in significant pain relief and neurological improvements in patients with Persistent PDN.

“Patients with painful diabetic neuropathy have no way to cure their disease, and many struggle with pain relief,” said Petersen. “However, with the high-frequency 10 kHz SCS, I am seeing lasting pain relief and disease-modifying neurological improvements, which could be a game-changer in how we treat patients with severe disease. impaired sensory function associated with diabetic neuropathy. “

Long-lasting pain relief means that patients demonstrated a reduction in pain of 50% or more, which was sustained for 12 months. The trial follows patients for 24 months.

Nevro Corp., a California-based global medical device company that created the Senza Spinal Cord Stimulation System that delivers 10 kHz therapy, touted the results of the landmark clinical trial, which was supported by the ‘UAMS Translational Research Institute.

“No conventional low-frequency SCS treatment has demonstrated such positive results in the treatment of PDN patients,” said D. Keith Grossman, chief executive officer and president of Nevro.

Nevro’s system, called HFX, is the only FDA-approved SCS system with a specific indication for painful diabetic neuropathy.

High-frequency spinal stimulation is delivered through two thin, insulated wires inserted through the back, near the spinal cord, in a minimally invasive outpatient procedure. The wires are attached to a small implanted device that charges wirelessly through the skin. The wires deliver mild electrical impulses directly to a processing center in the spinal cord, suppressing neural overactivity and reducing pain signals to the brain.

The method stimulates inhibitory neurons without stimulating excitatory neurons, reducing pain without paresthesia, a tingling sensation that can occur with traditional spinal cold stimulation.

The World Health Organization estimates that there are 422 million adults with diabetes worldwide. About 20% of diabetic patients will develop PDN, a progressive and potentially debilitating chronic neuropathic pain.


UAMS is the only health sciences university in the state, with faculties of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, health professions, and public health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a regional campus in northwest Arkansas in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation . UAMS comprises UAMS Health, a state-wide health system that encompasses all of UAMS ‘clinical activities, including its hospital, regional clinics, and the clinics it operates or employs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the state’s only Level 1 adult trauma center. American News and World Report recognized the UAMS medical center as the best hospital for 2021-2022; ranked their ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationally for third year; and named five high performing areas: Colon Cancer Surgery, Diabetes, Hip Replacement, Knee Replacement and Stroke. Forbes The magazine ranked UAMS seventh nationally on its list of Best Diversity Employers. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationally on Forbes’ Listed Top Employers for Women and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide patient care to UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, VA Medical Center and by Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu Where www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube Where Instagram.

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