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Pain. 1991 Mar;44(3):215-20.

Long-term spinal administration of morphine in cancer and non-cancer pain: a retrospective study.

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Pain Management Unit, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, Australia.


Records of 313 patients who had been treated with spinal morphine via an implanted Port-A-Cath were reviewed. In 284 cases the Port-A-Cath was implanted for epidural delivery of morphine in patients with cancer-related pain. These patients were treated for a mean of 96 (range 1-1215) days. There was a wide variation in dose requirements, minimum daily dose ranging from 0.5 to 200 mg and maximum daily dose from 1 to 3072 mg. However, there was no clear trend to increasing dose as period of epidural morphine administration increased. The most frequent complications were pain on injection (12.0% incidence), occlusion of the portal system (10.9%), infection (8.1%) and leakage of administered morphine such that it did not all reach the epidural space (2.1%). In all but 1 case infections were limited to the area around the portal or along the catheter track. All infections resolved without sequelae following removal of the portal and/or administration of antibiotics. In 17 patients Port-A-Caths were implanted for the intrathecal delivery of morphine to control cancer-related pain. These patients also exhibited wide variations in morphine dose requirements. Port-A-Caths were also implanted for delivery of spinal morphine in 12 patients with chronic pain which was not related to cancer and which failed to respond to other therapies. These patients were treated for a mean of 155 (range 2-575) days. Port-A-Caths were removed from 7 of these patients, primarily due to infection (2 cases) and inadequate pain relief and pain on injection (2 cases).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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