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Coma Cure for RSD ?

Posted by BrianG on 1/13/05 at 22:33 (167091)

This is an article that made the news rounds not to long ago. It's called the Coma Cure, where Ketamine is used to help treat patients with RSD. As we all know, RSD can be a complication from TTS surgery. Just wondering if anyone has checked into this, as I really think that it may be used for many types of pain someday. This has also been cross posted at the Treatments / Symptoms / Products page.

Good luck

Cut & pasted from the Internet:

Subject: Coma cure, for RSD
RSD - Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
December 7, 2004

It's being called a medical miracle: A revolutionary new cure for pain. One man says the radical treatment changed his life and we do mean 'radical.' But patients who've tried it say it's worth the risk. 'The most painful part of my day is putting on my sock,' said Dan Defilippo.
He survived a car crash that killed four of his friends. He was left with extreme pain. Even stepping on a poppy seed was excruciating. 'The pain ran up the back of my leg, to my head, and I fell to the floor, and blacked out from the pain.'

14-year-old Lindsay Wurtenberg got bitten by a spider, and mysteriously ended up with such crippling pain, she needed a wheelchair. 'It just kept getting worse and worse and worse every week.' Lindsay and Dan have RSD - Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. An injury sends the nervous system out of control, triggering pain signals that are out of proportion to reality.
'That injury changes the genetics of the spinal cord,' said Dr. Robert Schwartzman.

A revolutionary treatment changed Dan and Linday's lives. They traveled to Germany, where doctors used huge amounts of the anesthetic ketamine to put them into a coma for five days.
'The last thing I remember them saying was, have a nice dream. For me it felt like two minutes. The next thing I know I was waking up.' The only American doctor working with the German team says the anesthetic works wonders.
'What we're doing is changing your spinal cord back to normal. The downside is yes, it's very risky,' said Dr. Schwartman. Those risks include blood clots in the lung and infections from catheters. But Lindsay's mother has no doubts about the so-called 'coma cure'. Especially after watching her daughter head out to a school dance.
For more information click here http://www.abcnews.go.com

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

Dorothy on 1/13/05 at 23:45 (167097)

BrianG - I don't have RSD, but I thought this was very interesting information and thank you for providing it. I appreciate your knowledge about pain and pain management and related matters and often learn something from your information. Thanks again.

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

skully on 1/13/05 at 23:54 (167098)

I can't say I like those risks one bit.

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

BrianG on 1/14/05 at 13:39 (167138)

Hi Skully,

If you go to the Internet, and look for Ketamine on a search engine, you'll find more information available. There are newer procedures, where you do not have to be put into an induced coma, therefore the risks are much less.

Check it out,

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

Kara on 1/25/05 at 13:37 (167912)

That treatment sounds a little extreme. I had been diagnosed with RSD at one point, so I had 2 epidural injections with a few trigger point injections. This took the pain away for a few days, but then they decided that I probably didn't have RSD and that it was just TTS. So make sure that the diagnosis is correct before you try any treatments.

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

jennifer a on 2/01/05 at 09:08 (168235)


Do you know where they do these induced coma's in the U.S? I've had RSD for 9 1/2 years now. It did get a little better over time, but it is slowly getting bad again and i am afraid of it getting as worse as it used to be.

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

Elaine W. on 2/08/05 at 21:39 (168771)

Hi. The ketamine coma treatment is not available in the US. The FDA has yet to approve it. It is only available in Germany at this time. My daughter is Lindsay, the girl that was in the article posted above. Lindsay went from dancing, biking, skating, etc., to not even being able to sit up without being propped. It was devastating, and we felt we had no other option. She was in such pain that she basically quit living. Although she has had a relapse of some of the pain, she is no where near as bad as before the coma. The coma treatment allowed her to go back to school and dance class. My best to all of you.

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

SandC on 2/11/05 at 09:48 (168883)

I have RSD and have been seriously thinking about going to Germany to have this treatment. Could you tell me who the Doctor is and how I can find him. Also, approximately the cost of the procedure and hospital stay.

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

Ralph on 2/12/05 at 11:56 (168930)

Here is a website that I found and part of the article from it. I posted the website a while back under 'treatment' after hearing about this treatment being used for RSD on the TV news. I had no idea that RSD existed until I read about it in some of the posts here. Maybe the information will be helpful to you. You will need to read through the page to pull out doctors names. The article doesn't mention the German Doctor, but perhaps by contacting the one mentioned in the states you could get the information you are seeking. If I find more in my net surfing, I'll certainly post it for you. Dr. Harbut is in Page Arizona.
Also maybe Brian who's post you are responding to, will have the German Doctors name and address for you.




There is a new treatment being tried on RSDS/CRPS patients and it is called the Low-Dose Ketamine Infusion. It has brought new hope to the RSD Community!

It was developed by Dr Harbut in the United States, in conjunction with Dr Correll in Australia. Dr Ronald Harbut resides and practices in Page, Arizona. He was kind enough to allow us an interview to help explain what this treatment is all about. Part one is in this newsletter and Part 2 will be in the October Newsletter.

Dr Harbut has gone to Philadelphia to conduct training in the technique for Dr Schwartzman and his Associates. We hope that within the next year or two, Drs. all over the country will learn how to perform this treatment!

You can go to our website for more information on the technique and some stories from the patients who have had it done. Understand though that this treatment must be taught and should not be performed after

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

Judy M. on 3/20/05 at 15:45 (171631)

Dr. Schwartman in Philadelphia, PA sees patients for this. The coma is done in Germany by him. My daughter has an appointment with him 3-28-05 in PA. Supposedly he is booked up until 2007. She has had appointment 1 1/2 years. This has not yet been approved in US. although low dose has been. Dr. Harbut in Hershey, PA hospital does these, but also has a waiting list.

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

Judy M. on 3/20/05 at 15:50 (171632)

Dr. Schwartzman in Philadelphia, PA. I hear he has a waiting list until 2007. My daughter is going 3-29-05. She has had appointment for 1 1/2 years. All I have heard is $25,000 up front, don't know total cost. He is at the Drexel Hospital, Hanemann wing, 215-762-6915. Broad and Vine Streets.

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

Judy M. on 3/20/05 at 15:51 (171633)

Dr. Harbut is now in Hershey, PA at the Hershey Medical Center

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

J. Myers on 4/02/05 at 19:58 (172455)

You have to go through Dr. Schwartzman in Philadelphia. The cost is $20,000 for medicine and $5,000 expenses. It is a five day coma. They make arrangements. My 37 year old daughter has full body RSD. This is the only thing left, as she has had pumps, blocks, stimulators, in and out of hospital for 3 years. Everything they do makes her worse. She had the appoinment for 1 1/2 years. I hear Schwartzman is into 07 for appointments. Dr. Harbut in Hershey, PA, Hershey Medical Center does the awake coma with lower doses of Ketamine. He also has a waiting list. I believe the two doctors work together. Insurance will not cover Germany as it is not FDA approved in U.S.

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

JillC on 4/02/05 at 20:01 (172456)

I've been diagnosed with RSD for a year and a half. It has taken over my life. Where do I start to get in touch with this Dr Harbut?

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

J. Myers on 4/02/05 at 20:01 (172457)

Dr. Habut has moved to Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, PA.

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

J. Myers on 4/02/05 at 20:01 (172459)

We have just returned from Philadelphia to see Dr. Schwartzman. My 37 year old daughter has full body RSD. Dr. Schwartzman cannot help her as she is too bad-unable to use arms, legs or shoulders. Germany is the only place that will supposedly help her. Dr. Harbut at Hershey Medical Center does the low dose, but she is too bad for that. We are calling to get the particulars Monday.in Philly. They supposedly make all the travel arrangements. It is $20,000 for medicine and $5,000 expenses for travel, etc. Insurance will not cover it as it is not FDA approved, that is why it is not done in U.S.

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

Ralph on 4/03/05 at 10:48 (172484)

From my first hearing of this treatment I was hoping that it would be the answer for all those that suffer from RSD along with other types of chronic pain. I know Brian had posted something about this treatment too.

I wish you all the very best and I hope if you try the German treatment that it will bring pain relief if not a cure to your daughter.

Please take all of our hopes and prayers with you.

Re: FOR: Judy Myers

BrianG on 4/03/05 at 22:41 (172528)

Hi Judy,

Please send an e-mail to me, I have found some additional informaton about the Ketamine treatment, that I'm not sure you know about yet. I'd be glad to share it with you. You can reach me at: (email removed)


Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

Joyce on 4/07/05 at 20:03 (172808)

Are you planning on going to Germany to try the Ketamine? I also have full body RSD with a compromised immune system and almost no adrenal function. Would Germany take people that are late stage IV RSD like your daughter?

Do you know where we can get statistics on the risks, how much it helped people and for how long.

I've heard Dr. Schwartzman is very difficult to deal with. Did you find this the case?

The only relief I can get is from trigger point injections, coudals, epidurals etc. I've had good results from Space Coast Neurology in Melbourne Florida. Dr. Hashmi. He has a nurse anestisist called Jim Walcott who walks on water.

I sincerely hope you find some relief. God Bless

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

Elaine W. on 5/21/05 at 16:49 (175439)

Best wishes to your daughter. Dr. Schwartzman referred my daughter to the German doctors as well. It was a blessing!

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

Elaine W. on 5/21/05 at 16:51 (175440)

Dr. Schwartzman does not do the ketamine-coma treatment in Germany. He sends his patients there to be treated by the German doctors.

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

Judy M. on 6/11/05 at 18:33 (176560)

My daughter talked with Dr. Schwartzman a couple months ago. She is supposed to go to Germany in July. She has full body RSD for the last 3 years. She is 37 yrs. old. It is anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 US dollars, according to the exchange. It is a five day coma. You wake up pain free, but it will come back, different times for different people. You have to go back to Philadelphia for follow up treatments, if it works. You have to be there two days for follow-up, get treatment, and stay in a hotel. They say it is very risky, blood clots in lungs, infection and some people need breathing assistance. Last ditch effort.

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

Brett L. on 7/14/05 at 14:17 (178417)

Hi guys,

Here is some more info for ya. I was in Germany in January of 2005. I was in the comma for 7 days because of how bad my rsd was. I lived in hell for almost 4 years before then. I'm slowly getting my life back together and things are good. I recomend this to anyone who needs it. I'm starting to get my life back and I thank Dr. Schwartzman and his staff and the German Drs. for everything they have done for me. There is help out there its just a matter of seeing Dr. S. He has now become one of my heros.

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

dani k on 9/10/05 at 17:40 (182604)

do the drs. speak english? is it scary? Has anyone died of it? my sister has full body rsd for 5 years. what are your follow up treatments that you do here? How much did improve your life? what were you before (Pain scale) and what are you now?

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

dani k on 9/10/05 at 17:41 (182605)

would you please tell us if she is ok? my sister has full body rsd for 5 years and we are desparate.

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

Stephen Marino on 7/18/06 at 12:22 (204534)

can you give me the name, address and phone number in Germany.........my wife has RSD..she is bed riden, thanks

Re: Coma Cure for RSD ?

aaron s on 11/29/06 at 16:19 (216431)

My wife has rsd and is miserable. I am trying to suggest this procedure to her but her reply is she dosen't want to end up like a vegetable. She says she saw something about that on tv. Can anyone enlighten me on percentage of risk. I try to explain to her that there is that risk any time you are anesthtised, how much more is the risk with this procedure?