Effect of thoracoscopic splanchnic denervation on pain processing in chronic pancreatitis patients.
SourceEuropean Journal of Pain, 11, 4, (2007), pp. 437-443
Article / Letter to editor
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European Journal of Pain
SubjectDCN 1: Perception and Action; N4i 1: Pathogenesis and modulation of inflammation; NCEBP 7: Effective primary care and public health; UMCN 3.3: Neurosensory disorders; UMCN 4.1: Microbial pathogenesis and host defense
BACKGROUND: Central sensitisation due to visceral pancreatic nociceptive input may play an important role in chronic pancreatitis pain. Using quantitative sensory testing (QST), this first study investigates whether thoracoscopic splanchnic denervation (TSD), performed to reduce nociceptive visceral input, affects central sensitisation in chronic pancreatitis patients. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We studied 19 chronic pancreatitis patients (11 men, 8 women on stable opioid medication) and 18 healthy volunteers as preoperative controls. Preoperatively and 6 weeks after TSD, pain numeric rating scores, opioid medication, and thresholds to electric skin stimulation and pressure pain (measured in dermatomes T10 (pancreas), C5, T4, L1, L4) were documented. Treatment success was defined as cessation of opioids 6 weeks after TSD. RESULTS: Six weeks after TSD, there was a trend towards lower pain scores, only 10 patients were still on opioids (P<0.05 vs. preoperatively) and thresholds overall were significantly higher than preoperatively (pressure pain: +25%, P<0.001; electric: sensation +55%, pain detection +34%, pain tolerance +21%, P<0.05). Gender-specific differences in hypoalgesia patterns were seen. Preoperatively, TSD treatment successes consumed significantly less opioids than failures, without significant differences in preoperative patterns of neuroplasticity. CONCLUSIONS: TSD for chronic pancreatitis pain resulted in fewer patients on opioids and overall increases in pain thresholds. Our results suggest that TSD for reducing visceral nociceptive input may be effective in reducing resulting central sensitisation. Although patients benefiting from TSD consume less opioids preoperatively, we were unable to clearly link treatment success with specific perioperative patterns of neuroplasticity such as the presence or absence of hyperalgesia.
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