Interventional management of intractable sympathetically mediated pain by computed tomography-guided catheter implantation for block and neuroablation of the thoracic sympathetic chain: Technical approach and review of 322 procedures

K. Agarwal-Kozlowski, D. E. Lorke, C. R. Habermann, J. Schulte Am Esch, H. Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

We retrospectively evaluated the safety and efficacy of computed tomography-guided placement of percutaneous catheters in close proximity to the thoracic sympathetic chain by rating pain intensity and systematically reviewing charts and computed tomography scans. Interventions were performed 322 times in 293 patients of mean (SD) age 59.4 (17.0) years, and male to female ratio 105:188, with postherpetic neuralgia (n = 103, 35.1%), various neuralgias (n = 88, 30.0%), complex regional pain syndrome (n = 69, 23.6%), facial pain (n = 17, 5.8%), ischaemic limb pain (n = 7, 2.4%), phantom limb pain (n = 4, 1.4%), pain following cerebrovascular accident (n = 2, 0.7%), syringomyelia (n = 2, 0.7%) and palmar hyperhidrosis (n = 1, 0.3%). The interventions were associated with a total of 23 adverse events (7.1% of all procedures): catheter dislocation (n = 9, 2.8%); increase in pain intensity (n = 8, 2.5%); pneumothorax (n = 3, 0.9%); local infection (n = 2, 0.6%); and puncture of the spinal cord (n = 1, 0.3%). Continuous infusion of 10 ml.h-1 ropivacaine 0.2% through the catheters decreased median (IQR [range]) pain scores from 8 (6-9 [2-10]) to 2 (1-3 [0-10]) (p < 0.0001). Chemical neuroablation was necessary in 137 patients (46.8%). We conclude that this procedure leads to a significant reduction of pain intensity in otherwise obstinate burning or stabbing pain and is associated with few hazards.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)699-708
Number of pages10
JournalAnaesthesia
Volume66
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2011

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