Surgeon-Placed Continuous Wound Infusion Pain Catheters Markedly Decrease Narcotic Use and Improve Outcomes After Pancreatic Tumor Resection

Lyonell B. Kone, Advocate Aurora Health
Nicholas M Kunda, Advocate Aurora Health
Thuy B Tran, Advocate Aurora Health
Ajay V. Maker, Advocate Aurora Health

Creticos Cancer Center at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center


BACKGROUND: Pancreatectomy results in significant postoperative pain and typically requires opioid analgesia for adequate pain control. Local anesthetics may decrease postoperative pain and opioid requirements but can be limited by onset of action, duration of effect, and inability to titrate dosing after administration. This can be overcome by surgeon placement of tunneled peri-incisional catheters with continuous wound infusion (CWI).

METHODS: This retrospective cohort study analyzed patients undergoing open pancreatic tumor resection. All the patients received patient-controlled analgesia (PCA), enabling an objective comparison of opioid requirements, and underwent the same recovery pathway. The patients received CWI (n = 45), PCA alone (n = 11), or epidural analgesia (EA) (n = 9). The primary outcome was total opioid use in terms of intravenous morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs) and patient-reported pain scores on a numeric rating scale (NRS) of 0 to 10.

RESULTS: No differences in baseline patient or tumor characteristics were observed. In both the uni- and multivariate analyses, CWI was associated with lower opioid use than PCA (MME, 83 vs 207 mg; p = 0.004) or EA (MME, 83 vs 156 mg; p < 0.001) without having a negative impact on pain scores. Furthermore, CWI was associated with a greater percentage of time that patients experienced optimal pain control (NRS, ≤ 4: 63% vs 50%; p = 0.033) and a shorter time to PCA independence (4.0 vs 4.9 days; p = 0.004) than PCA alone. In addition, CWI was associated with earlier ambulation [EA vs CWI: odds ratio (OR), 0.05; p = 0.021], improved spirometry performance (CWI vs PCA: regression coefficient (coef), 267; p = 0.013), and earlier urinary catheter removal (EA vs CWI: coef, 1.30; p = 0.013). The findings showed no differences in time to return of bowel function, antiemetic use, or hospital length of stay.

CONCLUSIONS: After open pancreatic tumor resection, CWI is safe and associated with decreased opioid requirements and improved functional outcomes without a negative impact on pain scores, supporting its potential for preferred use over PCA or EA alone.