Bilateral thoracoscopic splanchnicectomy for pain in patients with chronic pancreatitis impairs adrenomedullary but not noradrenergic sympathetic function

Abstract

Bilateral thoracoscopic splanchnicectomy (BTS) is a well-known technique to alleviate intractable pain in patients with chronic pancreatitis. BTS not only disrupts afferent fibers from the pancreas that mediate pain but also postganglionic sympathetic fibers, which originate in segments T5–T12 and which innervate the vasculature of the liver, pancreas, and the adrenal gland. The purpose of this study was to assess whether and how BTS affects sympathetic noradrenergic and adrenomedullary function in patients with chronic pancreatitis. Sixteen patients with chronic pancreatitis for at least 1 year underwent autonomic function testing before and 6 weeks after BTS for intractable pain. Testing was performed during supine rest and during sympathetic stimulation when standing. Supine and standing systolic and diastolic blood pressure were significantly lower post-BTS compared with pre-BTS (P = 0.001). One patient showed orthostatic hypotension after BTS. Baseline plasma norepinephrine levels and plasma norepinephrine responses to sympathetic activation during standing were not reduced by BTS. In contrast, supine plasma epinephrine levels and responses during standing were significantly reduced (P < 0.001). Parasympathetic activity was unaffected by BTS as shown by unaltered Valsalva ratio, I-E difference, and ΔHRmax. BTS for pain relief in patients with chronic pancreatitis reduced adrenomedullary function, due to disruption of the efferent sympathetic fibers to the adrenal gland. BTS did not affect noradrenergic sympathetic activity, although blood pressure was lower after the sympathectomy.

DOI: 10.1007/s00464-012-2152-4

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@inproceedings{Buscher2012BilateralTS, title={Bilateral thoracoscopic splanchnicectomy for pain in patients with chronic pancreatitis impairs adrenomedullary but not noradrenergic sympathetic function}, author={Hessel C J L Buscher and Jacques W M Lenders and Oliver Wilder-Smith and C G J Fred Sweep and Harry van Goor}, booktitle={Surgical Endoscopy}, year={2012} }