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on 21 Jul 2020 11:49 AM

In keeping with national guidelines Pain Relief Ireland is delighted to announce that it is now possible to resume implantation of spinal cord stimulators and other peripheral neuromodulation devices.

Dr. Dominic Hegarty, the clinical director of Pain Relief Ireland and leading implanter of these devices with over 12 years implanting experience says that the guidelines prepared by the International Neuromodulation Society1 are “helpful and very welcome”.

In fact resuming implantation could not have come soon enough for several individuals. “Unfortunately some of our patients were in the middle of their workup and others had their surgery postponed at short notice. We understand how difficult his had been” says Dr. Hegarty, “but everyone has been fantastic. They all realised the gravity of the situation at the time so we are delighted for them that we can re-launch the service”.

And it is needed! A recent national survey performed by NSUKI of 300 patients awaiting implants, revealed deterioration in pain, mental health, and patient’s ability to self-manage1. Some patients reported increases in pain medication and reliance on support network. 92% of the patients showed a willingness to attend for COVID-19 testing, self-isolate prior to and after surgery and undergo the procedure as soon as possible.

Extra theatre space to accelerate treatment

Dr. Hegarty was able to confirm that in order to accelerate therapy additional theatre space has been secured with the Mater Private Hospital in Cork over the next few weeks. Dr. Hegarty believes that while there will be strict adherence to COVID recovery guidelines we should take advantage of the low infection rate in the community before there is any surge later in the summer. There are several factors that shall be considered in each case. Pain Relief Ireland will follow the international neuromodulation society guidelines in conjunction with hospital and government policy on this matter.

Factors that will be considered include

1. Local COVID-19 situation

2. Prioritising Procedures

3. Reducing the risk to patients

4. Reducing risk to staff

5. Reducing risk to industry partners

6. Consent



Gulve A, Baranidharan G, Eldable S, Sharma M, Bojonic, Mehta, Fitzgerald, Thomson S. Guidance on Resumption of Neuromodulation Services during the COVID-19 Recovery Phase. July 2020

Eldabe S, Baranidharan G, Gulve A, Thomson S, Hughes J, Vajramani G, Patel C, Love-Jones S, Fitzgerald J. Recommendations for the Management of Implanted Neurostimulation & Intrathecal Drug Delivery Devices During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain of neuropathic or ischaemic origin.

Eldabe S, Durate R, Gulve A, Thomson S, Baranidharan G, Houten R, Jowett S, Sandhu H, Chadwick R, Brookes M, Kansal A, Earle J, Bell J, Robinson J, Walker S, Rhodes S, Taylor R. Does a screening trial for spinal cord stimulation in patients with chronic pain of neuropathic origin have clinical utility and cost-effectiveness (TRIALSTIM)? a randomised controlled trial. with-medical-conditions.html

Consent:patients and doctors making decisions together. https://www.gmc- 48903482.pdf?la=en&hash=588792FBA39749E57D881FD2E33A8519