A recommender for the management of chronic pain in patients undergoing spinal cord stimulation

by   Tigran Tchrakian, et al.

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a therapeutic approach used for the management of chronic pain. It involves the delivery of electrical impulses to the spinal cord via an implanted device, which when given suitable stimulus parameters can mask or block pain signals. Selection of optimal stimulation parameters usually happens in the clinic under the care of a provider whereas at-home SCS optimization is managed by the patient. In this paper, we propose a recommender system for the management of pain in chronic pain patients undergoing SCS. In particular, we use a contextual multi-armed bandit (CMAB) approach to develop a system that recommends SCS settings to patients with the aim of improving their condition. These recommendations, sent directly to patients though a digital health ecosystem, combined with a patient monitoring system closes the therapeutic loop around a chronic pain patient over their entire patient journey. We evaluated the system in a cohort of SCS-implanted ENVISION study subjects (Clinicaltrials.gov ID: NCT03240588) using a combination of quality of life metrics and Patient States (PS), a novel measure of holistic outcomes. SCS recommendations provided statistically significant improvement in clinical outcomes (pain and/or QoL) in 85% of all subjects (N=21). Among subjects in moderate PS (N=7) prior to receiving recommendations, 100% showed statistically significant improvements and 5/7 had improved PS dwell time. This analysis suggests SCS patients may benefit from SCS recommendations, resulting in additional clinical improvement on top of benefits already received from SCS therapy.


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