Palliative Care

Doctor holding Patient's Hand

In this article:

About Palliative Care

Palliative care is specialized medical care focused on relieving pain, symptoms, and stress related to severe illness in order to improve quality of life for the patient and their loved ones.

At Vascular & Interventional Specialists, we offer compassionate care and a number of minimally invasive procedures to help reduce pain and symptoms and improve your quality of life.

When palliative care can help

Palliative care can help relieve symptoms and improve quality of life for patients in a number of situations:

  • Patients with serious illnesses (such as those listed below)

  • Patients or families dealing with the stress of a serious illness

  • Patients dealing with pain or other symptoms related to a serious illness

  • Patients and families facing difficult decisions about their health

Patients of any age who have a serious or life-threatening illness can receive palliative care, including those with conditions such as:

  • Cancer

  • Blood or bone marrow disorders that require stem cell transplant

  • Heart disease

  • Cystic fibrosis

  • Dementia

  • End-stage liver disease

  • Kidney failure

  • Lung disease

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Stroke

Palliative care can help improve or manage symptoms including:

  • Pain

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Anxiety or nervousness

  • Depression or sadness

  • Constipation

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Anorexia

  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping


Procedures for palliative care

Vascular & Interventional Specialists offers palliative care including celiac plexus nerve block, kyphoplasty with ablation, paracentesis, tunnel peritoneal catheter for malignant ascites/effusion, and thoracentesis.

Celiac plexus nerve block

A celiac plexus nerve block is used to relieve abdominal pain caused by pancreatic cancer. The procedure anesthetizes the celiac plexus nerves in the abdomen so they can’t send pain signals to the brain. During the procedure, your provider inserts a needle through the back to inject an anesthetic into the celiac plexus to numb the nerves.

Kyphoplasty with ablation

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive, same-day procedure used to treat spinal compression fractures (usually caused by osteoporosis) that can lead to shortening of the spine and a hunched-over appearance. Kyphoplasty restores the original shape and size of the affected vertebra, helping to relieve pain and improve mobility.

The procedure uses a small balloon-like device inserted by a needle to open up a space in the affected vertebra(e). Then, a special bone cement is injected to restore the vertebra’s original size and shape and relieve pain.

Read more about kyphoplasty.

Tunnel peritoneal catheter for malignant ascites/effusion

Some cancer patients experience ascites or effusion — an accumulation of fluid in the abdomen or other body cavity. A catheter can help drain this fluid, allowing patients to drain at home. Draining the excess fluid can relieve discomfort, abdominal fullness, pain, and breathing issues. The catheter is implanted with a minimally invasive procedure.

Read more about interventional oncology procedures.


As with a tunnel peritoneal catheter, paracentesis is a procedure used to treat ascites, the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen. In paracentesis, a needle or catheter is inserted into the abdomen to remove the excess fluid. This can relieve discomfort, abdominal fullness, pain, and breathing issues.


Thoracentesis is used to remove air or fluid from around the lungs. Accumulated fluid around the lungs is called pleural effusion and can cause trouble breathing, since it may prevent the lungs from inflating fully. In thoracentesis, a needle is inserted through the chest wall into the pleural space between the chest cavity and the lungs to withdraw the air or fluid.

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