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WVU Medicine Children’s implants first intrathecal baclofen pump to treat spasticity

by WVU Medicine

WVU Medicine Children’s pediatric neurosurgeons implanted the hospital’s first SynchroMed III™ intrathecal drug delivery system for children with severe spasticity.

Spasticity occurs when a child’s brain and spinal cord do not send appropriate signals to muscles, causing them to become extremely tight or stiff. This can be a long-term effect of conditions due to a neural injury or failure of a child’s brain to develop normally, including cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, acquired brain injury and stroke.  

The device is commonly used for intrathecal baclofen (ITB) therapy, a targeted drug delivery system that helps to alleviate spasticity symptoms by delivering baclofen, a muscle relaxant medication, directly to the fluid surrounding the spinal cord via a catheter connected to a small, battery-powered programmable pump.

ITB therapy is a well-established, safe, proven and effective way to manage severe spasticity with greater efficacy and a high degree of clinician control with fewer side effects as compared to oral medication alone.

“The intrathecal baclofen pump adds to the WVU Medicine Children’s Neuroscience Center’s already comprehensive and advanced medical approaches in managing movement disorders and spasticity,” Dr. P. David Adelson, executive director of the WVU Medicine Children’s Neuroscience Center and one of the neurosurgeons who implanted the device, said.

Currently, there is no cure for spasticity, and it cannot be prevented. However, it can be well-managed with the proper combination of therapies, medications, injections or surgeries, such as ITB pump implantation.

“Teamwork played a large part in being able to offer this solution for this child and, going forward, other children suffering from muscle tone and movement disorders — from the collaboration with Medtronic, the device manufacturer, to all the specialists and caregivers in the multidisciplinary clinics, to my colleague, Dr. Manish Ranjan, who expertly evaluated and then implanted the ITB device for this child,” Adelson said.

“It’s exciting to continue our position at the forefront of pediatric neuroscience care for the children of West Virginia and the Appalachia region.”

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