Understanding the risks that lead to complications after bladder cancer surgery

November 11, 2014

Drs. Rodney Breau and Luke Lavallée have published a new study in PLOS ONE regarding complications following the removal of the bladder to treat bladder cancer (radical cystectomy). The study found that 55% of patients experienced a post-operative complication following such a surgery, the most common of which was the need for a blood transfusion (38% of patients). It also identified risk factors for experiencing a post-operative complication, which included older age, female gender, pre-operative health status, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, low serum albumin, radiotherapy, recent transfusion, and length of operation. Radical cystectomy is often the best treatment option for patients with bladder cancer, but the high risk for complications associated with this procedure warrants more studies to improve patient safety. Dr. Breau and his colleagues have previously identified that lysine inhibitors (to prevent bleeding during surgery) are underutilized for patients receiving radical cystectomy. They are currently leading a multicentre CIHR-funded randomized trial (TACT trial) assessing whether the use of lysine inhibitors is safe and might reduce the need for blood transfusion.

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