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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 14

of 'Supportive care of the patient with locally advanced or metastatic exocrine pancreatic cancer'

Efficacy of neurolytic celiac plexus block in varying locations of pancreatic cancer: influence on pain relief.
Rykowski JJ, Hilgier M
Anesthesiology. 2000 Feb;92(2):347-54.
BACKGROUND: Neurolytic celiac plexus block (NCPB) is an effective way of treating severe pain in some patients with pancreatic malignancy. However, there are no studies to date that evaluate the effectiveness of NCPB related to the site of primary pancreas cancer. The aim of the study was to assess the effectiveness of NCPB in pancreatic cancer pain, depending on the location of the pancreatic tumor.
METHODS: The prospective study was conducted in 50 consecutive patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The patients were categorized into two different groups depending on tumor localization: group 1: patients with the cancer of the head of the pancreas and group 2: patients with the cancer of the body and tail of the pancreas. The qualitative and quantitative pain analyses were performed before and after NCPB. The patients underwent prognostic celiac plexus block with bupivacaine, followed by neurolysis during fluoroscopic control within the next 24 h.
RESULTS: After NCPB, 37 patients (74%) had effective pain relief during the first 3 months or until death. Of the 37 patients who had effective pain relief, 33 (92%) were from group 1 and 4 (29%) were from group 2. In the remaining 13 patients (3 patients from group 1 and 10 patients from group 2), pain relief after NCPB was not satisfactory. Those patients were scheduled for repeated retrocrural neurolysis during computed tomography control. Computed tomography showed massive growth of the tumor around the celiac axis with metastases. After repeated neurolysis, pain relief clinically still was not satisfactory, necessitating additional opioid treatment.
CONCLUSION: In this study, unilateral transcrural celiac plexus neurolysis has been shown to provide effective pain relief in 74% of patients with pancreatic cancer pain. Neurolysis was more effective in cases with tumor involving the head of the pancreas. In the cases with advanced tumor proliferation, regardless of the technique used, the analgesic effects of NCPB were not satisfactory.
Anaesthesia Department, Ludvika Hospital, Sweden. jan.rykowski@orebroll.se