Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Controlled and uncontrolled diagnostic clinical studies were eligible for inclusion. The included studies were both prospective and retrospective.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies of selective nerve root block (SNRB) injections performed under fluoroscopic guidance were eligible for inclusion. Studies of non-selective nerve injections in which the route of administration was not described were excluded, as were therapeutic studies. The interventions assessed in the included studies were: SNRB alone or in combination with magnetic resonance imaging, radiculography, nerve stimulator and mechanical stimulation (usually with a needle). Where reported, the specific sites of SNRB were cervical, lumbar, facets, sciatic nerve, medial branch blocks and trigger point, and SNRB was carried out post laminectomy or prior to surgery.
Reference standard test against which the new test was compared
Inclusion criteria were not defined in terms of the reference standard. The reference standard, where one was used, in the included studies appears to have been surgery, myelogram, imaging and different blocks.
Participants included in the review
Studies of patients with pain of spinal origin were eligible for inclusion. The patients in the included studies had sciatica, leg pain, radicular symptoms, radiculopathy, disc protrusions and metastases.
Outcomes assessed in the review
tudies that assessed pain relief, correlation with other diagnostic tests, or therapeutic outcomes were eligible for inclusion. The outcomes reported in the review were visual analogue scales of pain, surgical outcome, pain mapping diagrams and sensory testing. For studies that provided data on accuracy, the sensitivity and specificity were reported.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
Three reviewers assessed articles for inclusion then discussed them with all others in the review group.