Objective: Computed tomography (CT)-guided celiac plexus neurolysis has been used for controlling the chronic abdominal pain associated with intra-abdominal malignancy and chronic pancreatitis. Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)-guided celiac plexus neurolysis has been reported to have some success in controlling pain from pancreatic cancer. The aim of this study is to assess the efficacy of EUS-guided celiac plexus block versus CT-guided celiac plexus block for controlling the chronic abdominal pain associated with chronic pancreatitis.
Methods: Patients enrolled were randomly assigned to EUS-guided or CT-guided celiac plexus block. Pain scores were determined pre- and postceliac block for both techniques. Follow-up was obtained by a nurse at 1 day post-block, then weekly thereafter for 24 wk. Patients also rated overall experience with these procedures. The EUS celiac block was performed with a 22-gauge sterile needle inserted into the celiac region with guidance of real-time linear array endosonography followed by injection of 10 ml of bupivacaine (0.75%) and 3 ml (40 mg) of triamcinolone on both sides of the celiac area.
Results: Twenty-two consecutive patients (10 men, 12 women), were ultimately enrolled in this study between 7/1/95 and 12/30/95; four patients were excluded for protocol violations. We performed EUS-guided celiac block in 10 patients and CT-guided celiac block in eight. A significant improvement in pain scores with reduction in pain medication usage occurred in 50% (five of 10) of patients having the EUS block. The mean postprocedure follow-up was 15 weeks (range: 8-24 wk). Persistent benefit was experienced by 40% of patients at 8 wk and by 30% at 24 wk. In the patients with CT block, however, only 25% (two of eight) had relief. The mean follow-up was 4 wk (range: 2-6 wk). Only 12% (one of eight) had some relief at 12 wk of follow-up. There were no complications. EUS-guided celiac block was the preferred technique among patients who experienced both techniques. A cost comparison between both celiac block techniques shows EUS to be less costly than CT.
Conclusions: EUS-guided celiac block provided more persistent pain relief than CT-guided block and was the preferred technique among the subjects studied. EUS-guided celiac block appears to be a safe, effective, and less costly method for controlling the abdominal pain that can accompany chronic pancreatitis in some patients.