Background Operations and anesthesia in carcinoid patients can provoke carcinoid crises, which can have serious sequelae, including death. Prophylactic octreotide is recommended to prevent crises. Recommended prophylaxis regimens vary from octreotide long-acting repeatable to preoperative bolus to continuous octreotide infusion; however, efficacy data are lacking. We have shown previously that crises correlated with major complications and that octreotide long-acting repeatable and preoperative bolus failed to prevent crises. This study examines the impact of continuous octreotide infusion. Methods A total of 127 patients (71% with liver metastases, 74% with carcinoid syndrome) who underwent 150 operations with continuous octreotide infusions were enrolled in this prospective case series. Our main outcome measures were the occurrence of intraoperative carcinoid crises and post-operative complications. Results Crises occurred at a rate of 30% as compared with 24% in our previous series, which examined the impact of preoperative octreotide bolus. Crises were significantly associated with the presence of hepatic metastases (P =.02) or history of carcinoid syndrome (P =.006), although neither was required for crises. Prompt vasopressor treatment shortened the mean duration of hypotension to 8.7 minutes, compared with 19 minutes in our prior series. Crises no longer correlated with major complications (P =.481) unless instability persisted for greater than 10 minutes (P =.011). Conclusion Octreotide infusions do not prevent intraoperative crises. Patients without liver metastases or carcinoid syndrome can have intraoperative crises. Postoperative complications can be decreased by reducing the duration of crises. Further study is needed to determine how best to shorten hemodynamic instability during crises.
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