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Gastrointest Endosc. 2016 Nov;84(5):773-779.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2016.03.1496. Epub 2016 Apr 2.

Intraprocedural increase in heart rate during EUS-guided celiac plexus neurolysis: Clinically relevant or just a physiologic change?

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Division of Gastroenterology-Hepatology, Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
Center for Interventional Endoscopy, Florida Hospital, Orlando, Florida, USA.



Although EUS-guided celiac plexus neurolysis (EUS-CPN) is performed frequently for palliation of pain in pancreatic cancer, response to treatment is variable. Although intraprocedural increases in heart rate during alcohol injection are observed frequently, their significance and relationship to treatment outcome are unknown. The objective of this study was to examine whether a correlation exists between an increase in heart rate and treatment outcomes in patients undergoing EUS-CPN for pain relief in pancreatic cancer.


This is a prospective observational study of patients with abdominal pain caused by inoperable pancreatic cancer who underwent EUS-CPN. Heart rate change was defined as an increase of ≥15 beats per minute (bpm) for ≥30 seconds during alcohol injection. Main outcome measures were to compare pain, quality of life, opioid use, and survival between heart rate change and no-change groups.


Heart rate change was observed in 25 of 51 patients (49.0%) who underwent EUS-CPN over a 12-month period. Although the heart rate change cohort had significantly better adjusted scores for pain (60 vs 73; P = .042) and components of quality of life such as nausea and/or vomiting (65 vs 81; P = .004), financial difficulties (41 vs 57; P = .02), weight loss (45 vs 65; P = .007), and satisfaction with body image (52 vs 62; P = .035), there was no significant difference in postprocedural opioid use or survival between groups.


Because patients with an increase in intraprocedural heart rate experienced significant improvement in pain and quality of life components, this observation must be further explored in order to improve the technique and outcomes of EUS-CPN.

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