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BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia
Year: 2010  |  Volume: 105  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 777 - 781

Incidence of venous gas embolism during robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy is lower than that during radical retropubic prostatectomy

J. Y Hong, J. Y Kim, Y. D Choi, K. H Rha, S. J Yoon and H. K. Kil    

Abstract: Background

Robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (RALRP) is gaining popularity as a less traumatic and minimally invasive alternative to open radical retropubic prostatectomy (RRP). The aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence and grade of venous gas embolism (VGE) during RALRP compared with those during RRP using transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE).

Methods

Fifty-two patients undergoing RRP (n=26) or RALRP (n=26) were consecutively enrolled. TOE was continuously applied during surgery and VGE was graded by an independent researcher.

Results

The total incidence of VGE (proportion, 95% CI) in the RRP group was higher than that in the RALRP group [20/25 (0.80, 0.60–0.92) and 10/26 (0.38, 0.22–0.58), respectively]. Most VGE in the RALRP group occurred during the transection of the deep dorsal venous complex. There was no difference in the incidence of severe VGE between the two groups. No patients with cardiorespiratory instabilities even with severe VGE were observed in this study.

Conclusions

In contrast to general belief, VGE occurred less frequently during RALRP. Although the VGE in this study did not cause any cardiorespiratory instability, close monitoring for possibly fatal VGE must be considered during both types of radical prostatectomy because those who undergo radical prostatectomy frequently have cardiopulmonary co-morbidities.

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