Intrathecal baclofen therapy for treatment of spasticity in infants and small children under 6 years of age

  • Christian HagemannEmail author
  • Ilka Schmitt
  • Grischa Lischetzki
  • Philip Kunkel
Original Article



The aim of this study is to prove the efficacy and safety of intrathecal baclofen therapy in infants and children below 6 years of age by retrospective analysis of our pediatric cohort of 135 primary pump implantations.


Between 2007 and 2018, 17 patients with pump implantations were below 6 years of age. Data were acquired retrospectively with a follow-up of 12 months to 11 years regarding complications.


The youngest infant was 11 months at implantation with a bodyweight of 6, 4 kg, and 63 cm length. Surgical complications were comparable to published literature and mainly involved the catheter (2 catheter dislocations and 1 catheter transection) and one pump infection resulting in 4 revision surgeries in 3 patients. One baclofen-related apnea during titration and an overdose after refill were treated conservatively. Using a subfascial implantation technique, we observed neither skin ulceration nor pump infection since 2007. In a growing child, catheter slides are common and related to growth, scoliosis, spine surgery, and surgical failure.


Intrathecal baclofen therapy in infants and small children is as safe and effective as published for older pediatric patients; therefore, intrathecal baclofen can be considered in all infants as long as an 8-cm incision fits into the triangle of the anterior superior iliac spine, costal margin of the 10th rib, and navel. We suggest the utilization of subfascial surgical technique for implantation pump and catheter. Titration of intrathecal baclofen should be performed slowly to avoid bradycardia in infants. This is a retrospective study (level of evidence 4).


Intrathecal baclofen therapy Baclofen pump implantation Infants Spasticity Cerebral palsy Dystonia Children Pediatrics 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatric NeurosurgeryAltona Children’s HospitalHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Pediatric NeurologyAltona Children’s HospitalHamburgGermany

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