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Peripheral nerve blocks in advanced cancer pain: retrospective case series


Objectives Patients with cancer often suffer severe pain that is not relieved with systemic analgesics and requires further treatment options. This study aims to investigate whether peripheral nerve blocks are a feasible treatment option in patients with incurable cancer who suffer from severe pain.

Methods All patients with advanced cancer who received a peripheral nerve block for the management of pain at the Tampere University Hospital between January 2015 and December 2018 were included in this retrospective study. The characteristics of the patients’ features of the nerve blocks, opioid dosing (daily morphine equivalent) before and after the blocks, and patient-reported pain relief following peripheral block were assessed from the medical records.

Results Sixteen of the 17 patients included in this study received pain relief through a nerve block. Daily opioid dose was decreased with the block in 12 (71%) patients with a median change in daily morphine equivalent of −20 mg (IQR: −180 to 9). One infection of the catheter and two other transient adverse events occurred, but none was serious or fatal.

Conclusions Peripheral nerve blocks seem safe and may provide considerable analgesia and decrease the need for opioids in patients with advanced cancer.

  • cancer
  • pain

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