Intrathecal Drug Delivery Systems for Cancer Pain Control: Insights on Current Contemporary Practices in the US

Vasudha Goel, Varun Kumar, Anne Blaes, Amitabh Gulati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: Among patients with cancer with moderate to severe, intractable pain, intrathecal drug delivery using an intrathecal drug delivery system (IDDS) offers effective pain control. In this study, we evaluate the trends of IDDS therapy among patients with cancer, associated comorbidities, complications, and outcomes, using a large representative US administrative inpatient data base. Materials and Methods: The Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) data base contains data from 48 states and the District of Columbia. The NIS was used to identify patients with cancer who underwent IDDS implantation between 2016 and 2019. Patients with cancer with intrathecal pumps for the treatment of chronic pain were identified using administrative codes. Baseline demographics, hospital characteristics, type of cancer associated with IDDS implantation, palliative care encounters, hospitalization costs, length of stay, and prevalence of bone pain were evaluated in the study. Results: A total of 22,895 (0.32%) individuals with hospital admission for IDDS surgery were included for analysis among 7.06 million individuals with cancer in the final cohort. The IDDS cohort consisted of patients predominantly in the 65-to-79 years age group (40.49%), female sex (50.42%), and Caucasian ethnicity (75.82%). The top five cancers in patients receiving IDDS were lung (27.15%), colorectal (24.9%), liver (16.44%), bone (8.01%), and liver (7.99%) cancer. In addition, the length of stay was six days (interquartile range [IQR] four–nine days) and the median cost of hospital admission was $29,062 (IQR $19,413–$42,261) in the patients who received an IDDS. These factors were greater than those in patients without IDDS. Conclusions: A very few patients with cancer received IDDS in the US during the study period. Despite recommendations supporting its use, there are significant racial and socioeconomic disparities in IDDS use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1256-1262
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 International Neuromodulation Society


  • Cancer pain
  • intrathecal drug delivery
  • intrathecal drug delivery systems
  • palliation

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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