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Intrathecal baclofen pumps: what the neurologist needs to know
  1. Michelle S Balaratnam1,
  2. Valerie L Stevenson2
  1. 1 Department of Neurosciences, King's College Hospital, London, UK
  2. 2 Department of Therapies and Rehabilitation, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michelle S Balaratnam, Department of Neurosciences, King's College Hospital, London, UK; m.balaratnam{at}


Increasing numbers of patients have an intrathecal baclofen pump implanted as part of spasticity management. Neurologists may be asked about the management of these devices when patients attend emergency departments for unrelated illnesses. Occasionally, the intrathecal baclofen system itself will directly lead to an acute presentation. Furthermore, the presence of an intrathecal baclofen pump needs consideration when requesting investigations, particularly MR imaging. This review aims to increase understanding of intrathecal baclofen treatment, highlighting serious complications and outlining considerations for routine investigations. Neurologists may still need advice from the intrathecal baclofen specialist team.

  • intrathecal baclofen
  • multiple sclerosis
  • stroke
  • myelopathy
  • cerebral palsy

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  • Contributors MSB and VLS wrote the manuscript and revisions.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests VLS has acted as a consultant and advisory board member for both GW Pharmaceuticals and Medtronic.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed by Stephen Kirker, Cambridge, UK.

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  • Editors’ commentary
    Phil E M Smith Geraint N Fuller

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