ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 406-411

Access to pain medicines and follow-up consultation after radiofrequency ablation for trigeminal neuralgia during the COVID-19 pandemic


1 Department of Neuroanaesthesia and Neurocritical Care, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Anaesthesiology, Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, India
3 Department of Neurosurgery, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Shwethashri Kondavagilu Ramaprasannakumar
Department of Neuroanaesthesia and Neurocritical Care, Faculty Block, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru - 560 029, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/sja.sja_288_22

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Background: In the recent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, follow-up of patients with trigeminal neuralgia post radio-frequency ablation (RFA) of the Gasserian ganglion was restricted because of closure of pain clinic services (PCSs) at our institution, travel restrictions, and fear of contracting COVID-19 infection by hospital visit. Periodic follow-ups are a must in this group of patients. Because the access to pain medications and consultations remained restricted, we tried identifying the factors predisposing to these difficulties in patients. Methods: We had contacted patients telephonically, who underwent RFA at our institution in the past 5 years as the PCS had not re-started to follow up with in-person consultation. Demographics, socio-economic factors, clinical factors, literacy status, distance to the health care system, and current health status were noted. Collected data were analyzed descriptively, and correlations were calculated between the predictors for difficulty in follow-up to access the medications and consultations. Results: Out of 121 patients who underwent RFA in the past 5 years, 73 were accessible on phone. Of these, 42.46% (31/73) patients had difficulty in accessing either medications or consultation. The literacy status of the patient was the strongest predictor (0.044) with a negative correlation (-1.216). Difficulty in accessing PCS was associated with a poor health status (p-0.032) and higher pain scores (0.066). Conclusion: Along with the clinical factors, we have to overlook other factors in predicting difficulty to access PCS in trigeminal neuralgia patients post the RFA status. Difficulty in access to pain medicines and/or consultations was associated with a poor health status and higher pain scores.


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