Stellate ganglion block alleviates anxiety, depression for veterans with PTSD

Among veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, treatment with a single stellate ganglion block could help alleviate anxiety, depression and psychological pain rapidly and for long-term use, according to results presented at the American Society for Anesthesiologists Annual Meeting.

Researchers performed a single right-sided stellate ganglion block (SGB) using 7 mL of 2% lidocaine and 0.25% bupivacaine under fluoroscopic guidance on 12 veterans with military-related, chronic extreme post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with hyperarousal symptoms. At baseline, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months and 6 months post-block, PTSD symptoms were assessed using the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) score and the Post-traumatic Stress Self Report (PSS-SR) scale. Depressive symptoms were assessed with the Beck Depression Inventory version 2. Anxiety related symptoms with a generalized anxiety scale score and the State-Trait Anxiety Index and psychological pain with the Mee-Bunney scale.

Study results showed the block was greatly effective in 75% of participants, with a positive effects taking effect often within minutes of SGB. At week 1, there was significant reduction of both CAPS and PSS-SR and researchers found CAPS approached normal-to-mild PTSD levels by 1 month. Anxiety, depression and psychological pain scores also were significantly reduced by the block, according to study results. Overall, positive effects remained evident at 3 months, but were generally gone by 6 months.


Alkire MT. A1046. Presented at: American Society for Anesthesiologists Annual Meeting;  Oct. 11-15, 2014; New Orleans.

Disclosure: The researchers have no relevant financial disclosures.

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