JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
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Impact of thoracic epidural analgesia on blood loss in radical retropubic prostatectomy.

INTRODUCTION: Radical retropubic prostatectomy (RRP) is associated with an increased risk of intraoperative blood loss and the necessity of transfusions. This prospective randomised clinical study evaluates the influence of thoracic epidural analgesia (TEA) on blood loss in RRP.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: 235 patients were randomised: TEA in group 1 (n = 116; general anaesthesia + TEA) comprised continuous administration of 0.25% bupivacaine, while group 2 (n = 119; general anaesthesia alone) received intravenous analgesia with fentanyl (intubation: 2 µg/kg; maintenance: 0.1-0.3 mg). A restrictive infusion regimen (<1,000 ml until specimen removal) was administered in both groups. Blood loss, infusion rates and anaesthesiological parameters were recorded and analysed using regression models and analyses of variance.

RESULTS: Haemoglobin difference between the pre- and the first postoperative day (group 1: 3.35 ± 1.16 g/dl; group 2: 3.56 ± 1.42 g/dl; p = 0.19), overall blood loss (group 1: 665 ± 431.5 ml; group 2: 705 ± 881 ml; p = 0.73) and transfusion rates (0.4% intraoperatively; 2.55% postoperatively; p = 1.0) did not show group differences. In regression analysis blood loss was influenced by preoperative haemoglobin levels (p < 0.0001), patients' weight (p = 0.018) and duration of the operation (p = 0.017).

CONCLUSIONS: This study did not demonstrate a direct impact of TEA on intraoperative blood loss and transfusion rates in RRP. Further randomised clinical trials are needed to evaluate an impact of the different anaesthetic procedures presented alone or in combination on blood loss.

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