Risk of infection within 4 weeks of corticosteroid injection (CSI) in the management of chronic pain during a pandemic : a cohort study in 216 patients

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston..

OBJECTIVES: Targeted corticosteroid injections (CSI) are one of the treatments that can provide pain relief and thereby, enhance quality of life in patients with chronic pain. Corticosteroids (CS) are known to impair immune response. The objective was to evaluate the risk of developing post-procedural infection within 4 weeks of receiving depot CSI for chronic pain as part of on going quality improvement project. We hypothesised that interventional treatment with depot steroids will not cause a significant increase in clinical infection in the first 4 weeks.

METHODS: Telephone follow-up was performed as a part of prospective longitudinal audit in a cohort of patients who received interventional treatment for chronic pain at a multidisciplinary pain medicine centre based at a university teaching hospital. Patients who received interventional treatment in the management of chronic pain under a single physician between October 2019 and December 2020 were followed up over telephone as part of on going longitudinal audits. Data was collected on any infection within 4 and 12 weeks of receiving the intervention. Outcomes collected included type of intervention, dose of depot steroids and pain relief obtained at 12 weeks following intervention.

RESULTS: Over a 15 month period, 261 patients received pain interventions with depot CS. There was no loss to follow-up. Nine patients reported an infection within 4 weeks of receiving depot steroids (9/261, 3.4%). None of the patients tested positive for Covid-19. Eight patients (8/261, 3%) reported an infection between 5 and 12 weeks following the corticosteroid intervention. Although none of the patients tested positive for Covid-19, two patients presented with clinical and radiological features suggestive of Covid-19. Durable analgesia was reported by 51% (133/261) and clinically significant analgesia by 30% (78/261) at 12 weeks following the intervention. Failure rate was 19% (50/261).

CONCLUSIONS: Pain medicine interventions with depot steroids do not appear to overtly increase the risk for Covid-19 infection in the midst of a pandemic.

Media Type:

Electronic Article

Year of Publication:


Contained In:

Scandinavian journal of pain - Vol. 21, No. 4 (2021), p. 804-808




James, Arul
Niraj, Shruti
Mittal, Manish
Niraj, G



Keywords: Schlagworte

Date Completed 28.10.2021

Date Revised 28.10.2021

published: Electronic-Print

Citation Status MEDLINE

Copyright: From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

Physical Description:






PPN (Catalogue-ID):