Increasing the efficacy of a celiac plexus block in patients with severe pancreatic cancer pain

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the technical possibilities of placing a catheter near the celiac plexus for performance of a celiac plexus block, and to study the efficacy of repeated neurolytic celiac plexus blocks with alcohol in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer pain resistant to opioid treatment. In 12 patients, a neurolytic celiac plexus block with alcohol, administered via an indwelling celiac catheter, was performed. To evaluate the efficacy, visual analog scale scores were recorded every day. Quality of life scores were registered before and 4 weeks following the procedure. Alterations in opioid consumption, and the time between the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and the performance of the block, were registered. All patients were followed until they died. Two patients remained without pain after the first neurolytic celiac plexus block. In all other patients a second block was administered which provided only temporary relief. Additional intermittent administration of bupivacaine through the catheter was necessary to provide adequate pain relief in these patients. Quality of life increased significantly during the treatment. Opioid consumption decreased significantly in all patients. Our study indicates that a neurolytic celiac plexus blockade with alcohol results in a significant but short-lasting analgesic effect. The use of a celiac catheter improves the long-term management of pancreatic cancer pain. © U.S. Cancer Pain Relief Committee, 2001.




Vranken, J. H., Zuurmond, W. W. A., & De Lange, J. J. (2001). Increasing the efficacy of a celiac plexus block in patients with severe pancreatic cancer pain. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 22(5), 966–977.

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