This is exciting news. It is a recent study, and a very low number of participants, but I think that combat veterans should mention it to their psychiatrists and keep up to date on developments related to it.
Stellate ganglion block appears to be a fast-acting and effective treatment for chronic, extreme post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a single-center study.
Although the effect wanes within several months, “the improvements far outlasted what we would expect from stellate ganglion block, which is usually used as a temporary nerve block and typically lasts 3 to 5 hours,” said lead investigator Michael Alkire, MD, from the from Long Beach Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in California.
The study results were presented here at Anesthesiology 2014.
The investigators evaluated 12 veterans with combat-related PTSD that had lasted longer than a year who were showing symptoms of hyperarousal. Patients underwent a single right-sided stellate ganglion block using 7 cc of 2% lidocaine and 0.25% bupivacaine under fluoroscopic guidance.