Medtronic Intrathecal Pump

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in8intelligence
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 8/25/2007 6:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello, I'm very interested in hearing people's experiences with an intrathecal pain pump, the good and not so good. Have you had success with pain reduction after failure of oral meds to alleviate pain? Side effects? After years of very minimul success with oral meds, and failure of blocks, etc. to help my spinal pain (mostly neck and headaches with a 3 level fusion) a pump has been suggested. thanks, in8intelligence

curley
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 4305
   Posted 8/26/2007 1:13 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm afraid that I can't help you with this but I wanted to welcome you and we do have some that have pain pumps and I'm sure that they will be along that ca answer your questions.
Curley
.........
 


Chutz
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9090
   Posted 8/26/2007 2:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi and welcome! I don't have any experience but we have quite a few people who had or have had pain pumps. I'm sure they'll be along to share.

CHutz
Co-Mod Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
~~~
Fibromyalgia, Ulcerative Colitis, Insulin dependent diabetic, collapsed disk, dermatitis herpetiformus, osteo arthritis in spine and other locations.
***************

The only difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has it's limits. Albert Einstein: (1879-1955)


Stella Marie
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 601
   Posted 8/26/2007 6:13 PM (GMT -7)   

Welcome to the forum!  I have a Medtronic intrathecal pump.  Pumps are very complicated and because they are so individual, it is hard to answer your question.  As you are probably aware, if you and your doctor decide a pump is right for you, you will be required  to have a psychological exam and to participate in a trial with an external pump first.  A temporary catheter will be placed in the intrathecal area in your spine while you are under light sedation and then hooked up to an external pump.  You will stay several days in the hospital and various medications will be trialed.  The test is considered positive if you achieve a determined reduction in your pain.  Pumps are usually implanted in abdomen, just under the skin, so they can be accessed in the port externally for refills.  Pumps require refilling at different times, depending on what meds you have in them.  Many pain management doctors are slow to titrate pump medications to an effective level right after surgery.  For many patients, it takes several months – even up to one year to achieve pain control, so don’t expect immediate pain relief.  It is important that you question your doctor as to how he handles break through pain.  Some doctors will provide oral medications, while others feel that all pain control should come from the pump.  This is a very important issue for many patients.  It is also important that you select a doctor that you have easy access too.  You will need to visit his or her office for all refills, titrations or changes in your medications or medication rates.  Make sure you have a excellent relationship with the doctor implanting your pump.  You will it a difficult to change doctors once you have a pump, as many doctors refuse taking on new patients that have had pumps implanted by other doctors.  Once you have a pump implanted, you will need to be careful about bending, lifting and twisting.  Any of these can cause kinks or dislodgement of the catheter.     You will also need to give up anything that could potentially increase your body temperature like:  hot bathes, hot tubs, electric blankets, tanning beds, and certain ultrasound physical therapy treatments like ultrasound heat therapy.   Increased body temperature can cause the medication be released from the pump at an uncontrolled rate.    Filling pumps is very expensive, so make sure that you have good insurance and can afford the refills.  Each refill can cost up into the $1000’s and if you lose your insurance, no one is going to refill your pump for free.  There are all kinds of medications that can be placed in the pump and in all kinds of combinations.  Many are familiar meds, while other are anesthesia’s and other types of medications that are not available is oral form so they would be different that the ones you have previously tried.  Most people have a reduction in side effects, as less medication is needed, almost 1/100th of the usual oral dose.  Talk to as many people as you can and good luck in you decision.  If you have any other questions, please don't be afraid to ask.  Now is the times to ask.


Stella Marie

Dx:  Rare progressive neurodegenerative disease called Multiple System Atrophy (brain rot, autonomic system failure, neuropathic pain and a whole lot more).  Added improvements:  Intrathecal pump and a spinal cord stimulator..

 Medications: Sinemet, Requip, Klonopin, Baclofen, Provigil, Lyrica, Fentanyl patches, Lidoderm patches, Dilaudid, Fentora and Zofran


in8intelligence
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 8/26/2007 6:40 PM (GMT -7)   
Stella Marie, Thanks for taking the time to post a detailed response. I didn't give much info but I have had the psych evaluation and it's up to me to say I'm ready for the trial which I'm told will be a week or so. I'm writing down additional questions to ask my doc and the feedback of others helps me form some of the questions. What I'm interested in hearing about is have people had success with reducing pain, if anyone hasn't, and what problems folks have had. It would be helpful if I was more specific in my original posting. How have you fared with your pump? Thanks

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13471
   Posted 8/27/2007 10:51 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi In8, I too have the pump and I am so glad I had it implanted. One of the key factors of the pump is getting the right medication in it that works for you and then getting your doseage adjusted to where it needs to be. Its trial & error at first. I had way too much pain in too many parts of my body for oral meds to touch on. I also do not tolerate alot of meds and with the pump we do have a better field to pick from because we can use combinations of meds. I have 4 different meds in my pump and I am on much, much, much less medication than what I took orally. I went from being nearly bed ridden to plating 3 flower beds this spring, one had to be built and I did it. You will have limitations with the pump, but its a much better quality of life. Good luck, Susie


in8intelligence
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 8/27/2007 1:52 PM (GMT -7)   
Susie, Thanks so much for your response, one that actually told me what it is like for you. How long was your trial before getting the pump and how long have you had it? Do you feel you get better pain coverage due to the combination of meds or is it at least partly the delivery system- if you can answer that? Most people report a big reduction in side effects, has that been true for you? I'm so glad to hear life with pain has changed so much for you, hopefully it will for me. I've not quite decided to get the pump but actually think it is inevitable. Gracias, In8

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13471
   Posted 8/28/2007 6:02 PM (GMT -7)   
In8, I was put in the hospital for a couple of days for the trial, for the 1st time in long time, the pain was nearly all gone. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I begged my dr just leave me the way it is right now, he said oh everyone says that. You will know during the trial if it works or not, thats how fast it happens. I was so excited after the trial. It was a couple days ater the trial mine was implanted, it was a hurry up deal cause my ins was changing in less than a week and my dr himself got me approved for the placement of the pump. Hands down, I have much better pain control with the pump. The medication is on continual release in a tiny amt, everyone does. With oral meds you have the time frame when the pill works its best, then it starts wearing off, with the pump you have none of that. The catheter & meds are placed in the spine where the pain receptors are, the meds block the pain signals to the brain. My dr told me I would experiece less side effects from the meds cause we have a better selection of meds to use in the pump, again, it all goes with getting your doseage right. My dr had me coming one time for a month every week tweaking my pump up. Then it was every 2 wks. Of course now I am leveled out. I had a refill a wek ago and got a 10% increase only, I have bad swelling of the legs & COPD on oxygen, so I cannot be ramped up like the average bear cause the meds can affect the breathing. Also, you can be given a bolus from your pump which is like getting a pain shot. I have done this when I had some bad pain crop up and then things settled back down. I have driven myself to my sisters almost 3 hrs away. Yes, you can have a life with the pump. Susie


in8intelligence
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 8/28/2007 9:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Gramps and straydog, thanks for sharing your experiences. Gramps, I'm sorry you had a bad time.Folks, keep your stories coming. In8

d58
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 8/29/2007 11:00 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi In8,

I too have just had the Medtronic pump put in. Right now I am going
through the adjustments. Yes I have pain right now, but with each
adjustment it has gotten better. My head is already free of the pain
pill fog. Which has been a long time in coming.
I under went the trial for 5 days, I was so happy at the end of the trial.
my dr. had the process going and I was cleared to have the pump inserted
in a month.
For the first time for many years, I can see myself setting goals for
myself. I to have been mostly bed ridden for over a year now, before
that my quality of life declined since 2002. I was to the point that pills
were gagging me.
Sorry, this is really all I can add right now, since I am sort of new to
this myself. However, I can say I have already had more relief then
in many years.

d58
yeah yeah
Have a well day!


d58
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 8/29/2007 4:33 PM (GMT -7)   
Stella Marie
Just wondering how long you have had your pump and what level
of pain medication are you at?
Thanks for your detailed information that you gave.
Have a well day!


gar8872709
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/30/2007 2:26 PM (GMT -7)   
I had this pain pump put in dec 28th 06 and medicine morphine was placed in pump morning jan 2nd 2007 and sent home outpatient.  I was on duragesic 75 patches and you have to wean off of them.  Nearly died from overmedication 2nd night after pump was filled, then again 3 hours later from withdrawal after having removed the patches as Doctors office suggested.  This is a very short story to a very long event.  The switchover was pure Hell for weeks of sweating the bed wet, and being in bed 20 hours per day.
 
I love the fact that my mind is back!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Hate the pump as I am 5' 11 3/4" at 180lbs. down from 248lbs prior to injury oct 2001,  But I would never choose to go back to being mindless.  Email Questions.

in8intelligence
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 9/2/2007 3:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Gar, sound like your experience withdrawing from fentanyl patches was a bit of hell on earth. I tried the patches at one point and felt like I wasn't on meds at all. At least it let me know I do get some relief from my oral meds.
Thanks to everyone who has written, please keep the posts coming. In8

fieldgoal
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 7/1/2008 5:26 PM (GMT -7)   
 hi, I had my pump placed in 11/04.
10 days ago, my alarm went off and the signal said it was empty. Since I couldn't see my pain doc fro 5 days, I was admitted to the hospital to treat pain and the withdrawl. Then when I went to see my pain doc, he so kindly told me that he know longer does pumps, but he did find a doc,who would refill my pump my one grand. So on friday ,I go see this doc. He was a nightmare. He was astute enough to see that when the computer read my pump, it said empty, but when he tried to drain any fluid, he found 10ml of fluid or 1/4 of the medication in my pump. He said i would need to find another doc to fix the issue. Today, I called medtronics and they advised me to be admitted to the hospital, and have my primary doc call medtronics and they would send a rep within 2 days to solve the problem. Should I be worried/ skull

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13471
   Posted 7/3/2008 9:20 AM (GMT -7)   
In8, be sure your pain dr gives you an oral pain pill for breakthrough pain because it can happen. I rarely used my orals meds but was glad to have them when needed. I think I forgot to tell you, my pump was implanted 6-05. My meds in my pump are Dilaudid 15mg/ml, Clonodine 150 mcg/ml, Sufentanil 15mcg/ml, & Bupivacaine 15 mg/ml. My daily dose that is released is something like 3mg in 24 hrs, so you can see how much less medication is needed. Its strange how it works but it does. It sure gave me my life back. No brain fog, nothing. I have a 3 yr old grand son that I play with alot, I don't have time for pain to get me down because of him. Susie


tom inpain
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 239
   Posted 7/14/2008 6:59 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Fieldgoal: How are Ypu doing ?????? Iam considering getting a pain pump-- PLEASE advise Thanks, Tom
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