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Cooled Radiofrequency Ablation vs. Thermal Radiofrequency Ablation

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Know the risks and potential benefits of clinical studies and talk to your health care provider before participating. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT02073292
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : February 27, 2014
Last Update Posted : January 30, 2020
Kimberly-Clark Corporation
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
The Cleveland Clinic

Brief Summary:

Nerves in your body transmit signals to and from your brain and the cells in your body. In the event of an injury or disease, these nerves transmit pain. Sometimes, when an injury doesn't heal, chronic pain can develop. One way to treat chronic pain is to interrupt these pain signals. One method of doing this is to use Radio frequency ablation (RFA).

Radio frequency ablation (RFA) is a medical procedure in which heat is generated from high frequency electrical current in order to lesion (burn) nervous tissue. Radiofrequency ablation is used to treat many conditions in several areas of the body including cardiac (heart) as well as chronic pain. Probes (needles) are inserted into the body to a specific location and the electrical current is passed through these needles. This electrical current creates heat in your body and forms small lesions or burns in a specific place. Doctors will use tools, such as fluoroscopy (x-rays) and injections to locate the specific nerves that are transmitting pain and then use the electrical current to destroy those nerves.

Equipment used include generator, built in nerve stimulator, different needles and probes and water cooling system in case of the cooled RFA.

There are several types of probes or needles that are used to transmit energy and create lesions. This study is going to compare 2 types - standard radiofrequency and 'cooled' radiofrequency. The only difference is that the 'cooled' radiofrequency probes have water running through the probe tip, which keeps the tip cool and allows a larger lesion to be made. Since the doctor can't actually see the nerve he is trying to target, the larger lesion should theoretically improve his chances of hitting it. The 'cooling' of the water also allows the temperatures to be lower than what is needed for standard RF. In this study, the investigators would like to compare the differences between standard RFA (90°C) and "cooled" RFA (60°C) ablation techniques and determine if one is better for pain relief.

All of the probes that are used to perform radiofrequency ablation are FDA approved and are commonly used to treat patients with chronic back pain.

Participating in the study involves being randomly assigned to received either standard or cooled RFA. The procedure for both standard and cooled RFA is basically the same. The only difference is with standard RFA, the doctor may perform up to 2 lesions, instead of 1 if they are using cooled RFA.

Both study groups will receive local anesthetic prior to procedure. The treating doctor will use a machine called a C-Arm to take x-rays. These x-rays will guide the doctor to be sure the probes are in the right place. Once the probe placement is confirmed, the doctor will turn on the generator and create the lesion. This process will be repeated depending on how many lesions need to be created.

After the procedure there will be follow up visits at 1, 3 and 6 months. Level of pain, health and recovery information will be collected.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Chronic Thoracic Back Pain Procedure: c-RFA Procedure: tRFA Not Applicable

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 61 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double (Participant, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: A Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing Thermal and Cooled Radiofrequency Ablation Techniques of Thoracic Facets' Medial Branches to Manage Thoracic Pain
Study Start Date : March 2014
Estimated Primary Completion Date : December 2021
Estimated Study Completion Date : December 2022

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Back Pain

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: c-RFA
cooled radiofrequency ablation
Procedure: c-RFA
Active Comparator: t-RFA
thermal radiofrequency ablation
Procedure: tRFA

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Pain Score on the visual analogue scale [ Time Frame: Change from baseline in pain at 6 months ]

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 90 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Age 18 or older
  • Chronic thoracic spine mediated back pain of 3 months duration or longer
  • Absence of focal neurologic signs or symptoms related to thoracic radiculopathy
  • Failure to respond to conservative measures in the form of oral medication and physical therapy
  • More than 50% reduction in their pain less than 2 months duration following a series of 2 diagnostic thoracic medial branch blocks of the affected joints using 1 ml of 1% lidocaine in the first procedure and bupivacaine 0.5 % in the second time

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Untreated coagulopathy
  • Concomitant medical (e.g. uncontrolled cardiac condition) or psychiatric illness (e.g., untreated depression) likely to endanger the patient or compromise treatment outcomes
  • Pregnancy
  • Malignancy
  • Systemic or local infection

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT02073292

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Contact: Nagy Mekhail 1-216 445-8329

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United States, Ohio
Cleveland Clinic Recruiting
Cleveland, Ohio, United States, 44195
Sponsors and Collaborators
The Cleveland Clinic
Kimberly-Clark Corporation
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Principal Investigator: Nagy Mekhail The Cleveland Clinic
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Responsible Party: The Cleveland Clinic Identifier: NCT02073292    
Other Study ID Numbers: 13-1073
First Posted: February 27, 2014    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: January 30, 2020
Last Verified: January 2020
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Back Pain
Neurologic Manifestations