Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Studies with a 6-month follow-up period were eligible for inclusion. Case reports and clinical trials with fewer than 20 participants were excluded. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), multicentre trials and uncontrolled trials were included; the studies were both prospective and retrospective. The included studies had follow-up periods ranging from more than 8 months to 80 months.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies that examined SCS were eligible for inclusion. The included studies evaluated SCS, either alone or in combination with medical treatment, peroral analgesic, prostaglandin or best medical treatment. The comparator treatments in studies that included a control group were medical treatment, peroral analgesic, prostaglandin and best medical treatment.
Participants included in the review
Patients with ischaemic pain in the limbs and angiographic exclusion of revascularisation were eligible for inclusion. Studies of patients with a mixed diagnosis of Buerger and Raynaud disease were excluded. The included patients were Fontaine stage IV and III, where reported, and some patients had diabetes, gangrene and atherosclerosis.
Outcomes assessed in the review
Studies that reported methods of pain evaluation and included means, percentages or statistics about pain were eligible for inclusion. Pain relief was the primary outcome assessed, with pain classified by rank and scale, the pain-rating index of the McGill pain questionnaire and a visual analogue scale.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
The authors did not state how the papers were selected for the review, or how many reviewers performed the selection.