Systematic review of the safety and effectiveness of peripheral neurostimulation of the sphenopalatine ganglion for the treatment of refractory chronic cluster headache

L.M. Sánchez-Gómez, Neurologia. 2018 Jan 12


This study aimed to assess the safety and effectiveness of peripheral neurostimulation of the sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) in the treatment of refractory chronic cluster headache.


Various medical databases were used to perform a systematic review of the scientific literature. The search for articles continued until 31 October 2016, and included clinical trials, systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses, health technology assessment reports, and clinical practice guidelines that included measurements of efficiency/effectiveness or adverse effects associated with the treatment. The review excluded cohort studies, case-control studies, case series, literature reviews, letters to the editor, opinion pieces, editorials, and studies that had been duplicated or outdated by later publications from the same institution. Regarding effectiveness, we found that SPG stimulation had positive results for pain relief, attack frequency, medication use, and patients’ quality of life. In the results regarding safety, we found a significant number of adverse events in the first 30 days following the intervention. Removal of the device was necessary in some patients. Little follow-up data, and no long-term data, is available.


These results are promising, despite the limited evidence available. We consider it essential for research to continue into the safety and efficacy of SPG stimulation for patients with refractory chronic cluster headache. In cases where this intervention may be indicated, treatment should be closely monitored.


Cefalea en racimos; Cluster headache; Ganglio esfenopalatino; Neuroestimulación; Neurostimulation; Revisión sistemática; Sphenopalatine ganglion; Systematic review

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