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Hi, Are there contra indications for use of TENS on low back pain with a history of Atrial Fibrillation?

Aside from a pacemaker in situ, are there any cardiac conditions where TENS is contra indicated?

Cara Ewart

6 months ago

Back to General Electrotherapy

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Dinesh Verma
Dinesh Verma

Purely MEDICAL history of AF should not pose any sort of contra-indication.

cara.ewart202
cara.ewart202

Hi, Thank you very much everyone for your responses. My patient has chronically unstable AF. He did not wish to take any risks at all and we therefore moved our focus to other ways of managing pain. Can I ask are there UK guidelines similar to the Canadian ones ? I think you said the Canadian ones were the most up to date in an earlier query.

vetphysio.herbots113
vetphysio.herbots113

Dear Cara, as long as you're not treating nearby or over the heart their should not be a problem. The current runs over the shortest way in between electrodes

vetphysio.herbots113
vetphysio.herbots113

Dear Cara, as long as you're not treating nearby or over the heart their should not be a problem. The current runs over the shortest way in between electrodes

Prof Tim Watson
Prof Tim Watson

A history of atrial fibrillation (AF) would not constitute a contraindication. If the AF is present NOW and you were treating the low back (i.e. Lumbar electrode placements) then it might be considered a precaution. If the AF is unstable (medically) then I would avoid in case of an adverse event - it is unlikely, but it is possible. If the AF is (medically) stable, I would certainly try it, but would not let the patient take the machine home and use it unsupervised until I was sure that the TENS did not generate unwanted cardiac events - again, unlikely, but you want to be sure). There is no absolute yes or no to this one I am afraid. Lumbar electrodes and AF are certainly a less problematic scenario than using TENS for thoracis spine pain. At the end of the day, if the patient has a HISTORY of AF but does not currently have a clinical problem, I would not consider it to be a contraindication. Any help?? Tim

Cliff Eaton
Cliff Eaton

Dear Cara Any implanted electronic device should be considered as a contraindication Other contraindications include: Patients who cannot understand instruction or communicate discomfort Skin conditions, which could be irritated by electrode placement Anterior neck Using TENS to alleviate pain should not affect your patient Cliff Eaton

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