Objective: Ehlers–Danlos syndrome frequently causes acute and chronic pain because of joint subluxations and dislocations secondary to hypermobility. Current treatments for pain related to Ehlers–Danlos syndrome and central pain syndrome are inadequate. This case report discusses the therapeutic use of ketamine intravenous infusion as an alternative.
Case report: A 27-year-old Caucasian female with a history of Ehlers–Danlos syndrome and spinal cord ischemic myelopathy resulting in central pain syndrome, presented with severe generalized body pain refractory to multiple pharmacological interventions. After a 7-day course of ketamine intravenous infusion under controlled generalized sedation in the intensive care unit, the patient reported a dramatic reduction in pain levels from 7–8 out of 10 to 0–3 out of 10 on a numeric rating scale and had a significant functional improvement. The patient tolerated a reduction in her pain medication regimen, which originally included opioids, gabapentin, pregabalin, tricyclic antidepressants, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Conclusion: Ketamine infusion treatment has been used in various pain syndromes, including central neuropathic pain, ischemic pain, and regional pain syndrome. Reports have suggested that ketamine modulates pain by the regression of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor to a resting state. As such, propagation of nociceptive signal to brain is interrupted allowing for the restoration of physiological balance between pain inhibition and facilitation. The present report shows that this treatment option can be used in patients with refractory central pain syndrome in the setting of spinal cord myelopathy secondary to Ehlers–Danlos syndrome. In addition, as seen in this case, this protocol can potentially decrease the chronic use of pain medication, such as opioids.