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Efficacy of endoscopic ultrasound-guided celiac plexus block and celiac plexus neurolysis for managing abdominal pain associated with chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.

BACKGROUND/GOALS: Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)-guided celiac plexus block (CPB) and celiac plexus neurolysis (CPN) have become important interventions in the management of pain due to chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. However, only a few well-structured studies have been performed to evaluate their efficacy. Given limited data, their use remains controversial. Herein, we evaluate the efficacy of EUS-guided CPB and CPN in alleviating chronic abdominal pain due to chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer respectively.

STUDY METHODS: Using Medline, Pubmed, and Embase databases from January 1966 through December 2007, a thorough search of the English literature for studies evaluating the efficacy of EUS-guided CPB and CPN for the management of chronic abdominal pain due to chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer was conducted, along with a hand search of reference lists. Studies that involved less than 10 patients were excluded. Data on pain relief was extracted, pooled, and analyzed.

RESULTS: A total of 9 studies were included in the final analysis. For chronic pancreatitis, 6 relevant studies were identified, comprising a total of 221 patients. EUS-guided CPB was effective in alleviating abdominal pain in 51.46% of patients. For pancreatic cancer, 5 relevant studies were identified with a total of 119 patients. EUS-guided CPN was effective in alleviating abdominal pain in 72.54% of patients.

CONCLUSIONS: EUS-guided CPB was 51.46% effective in managing chronic abdominal pain in patients with chronic pancreatitis, but warrants improvement in patient selection and refinement of technique, whereas EUS-guided CPN was 72.54% effective in managing pain due to pancreatic cancer and is a reasonable option for patients with tolerance to narcotic analgesics.

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