Uehara Y, Matsumoto Y, Kosugi T, et al. Availability of and factors related to interventional procedures for refractory pain in patients with cancer: a nationwide survey. BMC Palliat Care. 2022;21(1):166.
Keywords: Availability; Interventional procedures; Nationwide survey; Refractory cancer pain; Related factors.
Background: Cancer pain may be refractory to standard pharmacological treatment. Interventional procedures are important for quality of analgesia. The aim of the present study was to clarify the availability of four interventional procedures (celiac plexus neurolysis/splanchnic nerve neurolysis, phenol saddle block, epidural analgesia, and intrathecal analgesia), the number of procedures performed by specialists, and their associated factors. In addition, we aimed to establish how familiar home hospice physicians and oncologists are with the different interventional procedures available to manage cancer pain.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey using a self-administered questionnaire was conducted. Subjects were certified pain specialists, interventional radiologists, home hospice physicians, and clinical oncologists.
Results: The numbers of valid responses/mails were 545/1,112 for pain specialists, 554/1,087 for interventional radiology specialists, 144/308 for home hospice physicians, and 412/800 for oncologists. Among pain specialists, depending on intervention, 40.9-75.2% indicated that they perform each procedure by themselves, and 47.5-79.8% had not performed any of the procedures in the past 3 years. Pain specialists had performed the four procedures 4,591 times in the past 3 years. Among interventional radiology specialists, 18.1% indicated that they conduct celiac plexus neurolysis/splanchnic nerve neurolysis by themselves. Interventional radiology specialists had performed celiac plexus neurolysis/splanchnic nerve neurolysis 202 times in the past 3 years. Multivariate analysis revealed that the number of patients seen for cancer pain and the perceived difficulty in gaining experience correlated with the implementation of procedures among pain specialists. Among home hospice physicians and oncologists, depending on intervention, 3.5-27.1% responded that they were unfamiliar with each procedure.
Conclusions: Although pain specialists responded that the implementation of each intervention was possible, the actual number of the interventions used was limited. As interventional procedures are well known, it is important to take measures to ensure that pain specialists and interventional radiology physicians are sufficiently utilized to manage refractory cancer pain.