OBJECTIVES--To determine the effect of intravenous regional guanethidine on post-traumatic algodystrophy. METHODS--Ten of 20 consecutive patients with algodystrophy after Colles' fracture were treated with serial intravenous regional guanethidine blockades and the other 10 were treated with physiotherapy alone. Patients were assessed before and after each block and then monthly over a six month period. RESULTS--The treated patients had subjective and objective improvements in the assessed features of algodystrophy; treatment resulted in a significant reduction in finger tenderness at five and six months. CONCLUSIONS--Guanethidine blockade induces short term benefits in the symptoms of algodystrophy but improves finger tenderness only in the long term.
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