Canadian journal of anaesthesia = Journal canadien d'anesthesie

Mega-dose intravenous octreotide for the treatment of carcinoid crisis: a systematic review.

PMID 23328959


Carcinoid crises are rare life-threatening events involving cardiac instability when carcinoid tumours release vasoactive peptides. Such events can occur in the perioperative setting. Octreotide, a somatostatin analogue, is administered as a bolus dose of 100-500 μg iv or by infusion to treat carcinoid crises. Due to the apparent low risk-to-benefit profile, a much higher dose is sometimes used in urgent situations. The purpose of this study was to assess the evidence for administering doses or hourly infusions of octreotide that exceeded 1,500 μg iv to treat carcinoid crises. We also sought to identify which patients may require large doses and to describe the adverse effects of such doses. We systematically searched Medline, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases and hand-searched reference lists of relevant articles in 2006 and again in 2010 and 2011. All study designs were included in our search. Resolution of crisis symptoms was the primary outcome. Eighteen articles were included. No patient died during a carcinoid crisis. A retrospective chart review of 89 patients with carcinoid heart disease reported octreotide doses of 25-54,000 μg to treat carcinoid crises, although neither crisis symptoms nor outcomes were described. In the included case reports, carcinoid crises were managed effectively using octreotide 25-500 μg iv. Previous exposure to octreotide and carcinoid heart disease may warrant the need for higher doses. In addition to the low quality of the articles and the small sample size, inconsistent use of the term "carcinoid crisis" and paucity of reported outcomes were also limitations of this systematic review. These findings highlight the need for further investigation into dose-response relationships of octreotide for the treatment of carcinoid crisis.