Lipov, E. G., Joshi, J. R., Sanders, S., Wilcox, K., Lipov, S., Xie, H., … Slavin, K. (2008). Effects of stellate-ganglion block on hot flushes and night awakenings in survivors of breast cancer: a pilot study. Lancet Oncology, 9, 523–532.doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(08)70131-1
To investigate the hypothesis that stellate ganglion block (SGB) can be a safe and effective treatment for hot flushes (HF) and sleep dysfunction in patients with breast cancer.
Thirteen women with breast cancer (in remission) experiencing severe HF and night awakenings were treated with SGB at the anterolateral aspect of the C6 vertebra on the right side under fluoroscopy. Patients recorded HF in a daily diary by use of the Hot Flash Score and night awakenings by use of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Both instruments were used one week before the procedure and then weekly after the procedure for 12 weeks. The generalized-estimating-equations method was used to analyze the longitudinal measurements of the number of HF and night awakenings over time.
This pilot study used a prospective, single-arm, pre/post design.
No adverse events resulted from the SGB, although patients had temporary Horner's syndrome, indicating the effectiveness of the block. Five patients had only one SGB, and eight had two SGBs. The total number of HF decreased from a mean of 79.4 (standard deviation [SD] = 37.4) per week before the procedure to a mean of 49.9 (SD = 39.9) per week during the first two weeks after the procedure (p = 0.0002). The total number of HF continued to decrease over the remaining follow-up period (weeks 3–12) and stabilized at a mean of 8.1 (SD = 5.6) per week (p < 0.0001). The number of very severe HF was decreased to near zero by the end of the follow-up period (week 12; p < 0.0001). Night awakenings decreased from a mean of 19.5 (SD = 14.8) per week before the procedure to a mean of 7.3 (SD = 7.1) per week during the first two weeks after the procedure (p < 0.0001). The total number of night awakenings continued to decrease over the remaining follow-up period (weeks 3–12) and stabilized at a mean of 1.4 (SD = 1.2) per week (p < 0.0001).
The findings suggest that SGB can provide survivors of breast cancer with relief from HF and sleep dysfunction, with few or no side effects. Long-term symptom relief has the potential to improve overall quality of life (QOL) and increase compliance with antiestrogen medications for breast cancer.
The findings suggest that SGB can provide breast cancer survivors with relief from HF and sleep disturbances, with potential to improve overall QOL.