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Serial Whole-Body Cryotherapy in the Criostream for Inflammatory Rheumatic Diseases. A Pilot Study

Serial Whole-Body Cryotherapy in the Criostream for Inflammatory Rheumatic Diseases. A Pilot Study

Authors: Uwe Lange, Christine Uhlemann, Ulf Müller-Ladner

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE

Local as well as whole-body cryotherapy is used to relieve pain and inflammation in rheumatic diseases. In comparison with a chamber-based whole-body cryotherapy, the novel criostream whole-body therapy (single-person cabin with cold air cooled by liquid nitrogen) as an innovative technique offers not only a rapid therapeutic effect but also a considerable reduction in costs. The aim of this study was to compare the effect of whole-body cryotherapy in the criostream on pain reduction, disease activity and pro-inflammatory cytokines (tumor necrosis factor-[TNF-]alpha and interleukin-[IL-]1), and improvement in functional scores.

PATIENTS AND METHODS

Ten patients with different active inflammatory rheumatic diseases (four patients with rheumatoid arthritis, three patients with ankylosing spondylitis, and three patients with psoriatic arthritis/spondylitis) underwent nine sessions of whole-body cryotherapy in 5 days for a short time period (at first 90 s, with step-up in each application to 2.5 min total time).

RESULTS

Pain and disease activity scores decreased significantly, and, subsequently, also the functional scores showed a significant amelioration. Furthermore, there was a significant reduction in TNF-alpha (p < 0.01) and IL-1 (p < 0.05). Side effects were reported only after the first application in two cases (headache and sensation of cold).

CONCLUSION

The criostream offers an elegant and, from the patient’s point of view, attractive therapeutic agent in the multimodal treatment concept for inflammatory rheumatic diseases.

Medizinische Klinik (Munich, Germany : 1983). 01/07/2008; 103(6):383-388.
ISSN: 0723-5003
DOI: 10.1007/s00063-008-1056-5

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