Palliation by coeliac plexus block for upper abdominal visceral cancer pain

Trop Doct. 2002 Oct;32(4):224-6. doi: 10.1177/004947550203200413.


Palliation of cancer related pain is one of the major concerns of patients suffering from cancer of the upper abdominal organs. The non-availability of imaging techniques to guide needle placement prompted us to use a blind technique of neurolytic coeliac plexus block. Thirty consecutive patients with intractable pain, due to documented inoperable upper abdominal visceral cancers, underwent neurolytic coeliac plexus block by blind percutaneous retrocrural unilateral neurolysis. The severity of pain was documented on a 0-10 visual analogue scale (VAS) performed pre-block and post-block at 1 day, 1 week, 1 month and 3 months. Pain relief was graded as excellent if the score was 0-2, good when VAS was 3-5, satisfactory whenVAS was 6-7 and unsatisfactory if VAS was 8-10. Excellent pain relief was obtained in 26/30 patients (86.6%). Relief from pain diminished with time and after 3 months, 16/30 patients (53.35) graded their pain relief as excellent. Transient but severe hypotension complicated 73% of blocks. Despite the proximity of vital structures, blind unilateral retrocrural neurolytic coeliac plexus blockade is a safe and effective means to relieve the terminal pain associated with upper abdominal visceral cancer. It deserves more widespread use in patients with upper abdominal cancer. Results of the present study are encouraging and relevant for clinicians working in developing countries.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Neoplasms / complications*
  • Abdominal Pain / diagnosis
  • Abdominal Pain / etiology*
  • Abdominal Pain / therapy*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Autonomic Nerve Block / adverse effects
  • Autonomic Nerve Block / instrumentation
  • Autonomic Nerve Block / methods*
  • Celiac Plexus*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Intractable / diagnosis
  • Pain, Intractable / etiology*
  • Pain, Intractable / therapy*
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Viscera