J Huang. Letter to the Editor: The History Of Chemical Lumbar Sympathectomy. The Internet Journal of Anesthesiology. 2002 Volume 7 Number 1.
Chemical lumbar sympathectomy has been used in the treatment of ischemic rest pain, intermittent claudication, Paget's disease of bone, hyperhidrosis, and pain associated with chronic pancreatitis and carcinoma of pancreas. This study examined the historical events that led to development of chemical lumbar sympathectomy.
In 1926, New York surgeon George Swetlow (Montefiore Hospital for Chronic Disease, New York City) applied 80% alcohol to intercostal nerve for patients with angina pectoris, superior laryngeal nerve for patients with laryngeal pain, great occipital nerve for patients with headache. In 1935, Boston surgeon James White (Massachusetts General Hospital) used 95% alcohol to destroy sympathetic chain for patients with extreme hyperhidrosis of the extremities.