Urinary retention in thoracic epidural patients

Choi S, Mahon P, Awad IT. Neuraxial anesthesia and bladder dysfunction in the perioperative period: a systematic review. Can J Anaesth. 2012 Jul;59(7):681-703. Erratum in: Can J Anaesth. 2017 Dec 18. Full-text for Emory users.

Principal findings: Our search yielded 94 studies, and in 16 of these studies, the authors reported time to micturition after intrathecal anesthesia of varying local anesthetics and doses. Intrathecal injections were performed in 41 of these studies, epidural anesthesia/analgesia was used in 39 studies, and five studies involved both the intrathecal and epidural routes. Meta-analysis was not possible because of the heterogeneity of interventions and reported outcomes. The duration of detrusor dysfunction after intrathecal anesthesia is correlated with local anesthetic dose and potency. The incidence of urinary retention displays a similar trend and is further increased by the presence of neuraxial opioids, particularly long-acting variants. Urinary tract infection secondary to catheterization occurred rarely.

Conclusions: Neuraxial anesthesia/analgesia results in transient detrusor dysfunction. The duration of dysfunction depends on the potency and dose of medication used; however, it does not appear to result in significant morbidity.


Allen MS, et al. Optimal Timing of Urinary Catheter Removal After Thoracic Operations: A Randomized Controlled Study. Ann Thorac Surg. 2016 Sep;102(3):925-930. Full-text for Emory users.

Results: The study enrolled 374 patients, 217 men (58%) and 157 women (42%). The 247 eligible and evaluated patients, 141 (57.1%) men and 106 (42.9%) women, were a median age of 61.5 years (range, 21 to 87 years). There were no statistically significant differences in any of the preoperative or operative categories between the two groups. Median length of stay was 5 days (range, 2 to 42 days) for all patients, and there was no difference between the two groups. Postoperatively, 19 patients (7.7%) required urinary catheter reinsertion after it was removed. A significantly greater number of patients in the early removal group required reinsertion of the urinary catheter (15 [12.4%] vs 4 [3.2%]); p = 0.0065). Patients whose urinary catheter was removed within 48 hours of the operation had a much higher rate of bladder scans postoperatively (59.5% [n = 72]) and required more in-and-out catheterization than those whose urinary catheter was removed 6 hours after the epidural analgesia was discontinued (31.0% [n = 39]; p < 0.0001). The only documented urinary tract infection in the entire cohort occurred in a patient whose urinary catheter was removed within 48 hours after the operation. No urinary tract infections developed in the 126 patients whose urinary catheter remained in place until the epidural catheter was removed.

Conclusions: In a randomized control trial, patients with an epidural catheter in place after a general thoracic surgical operation have a higher rate of urinary problems when the urinary catheter is removed early, while the epidural catheter is still in place, compared with patients whose urinary catheter is removed after the epidural analgesia is discontinued.

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Postoperative complications of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deng JZ, et al. The Risk of Postoperative Complications After Major Elective Surgery in Active or Resolved COVID-19 in the United States. Ann Surg. 2022 Feb 1;275(2): 242-246.

Results: Of the 5479 patients who met study criteria, patients with peri-Covid-19 had an elevated risk of developing postoperative pneumonia [adjusted odds ratio (aOR), 6.46; 95% confidence interval (CI): 4.06-10.27], respiratory failure (aOR, 3.36; 95% CI: 2.22-5.10), pulmonary embolism (aOR, 2.73; 95% CI: 1.35-5.53), and sepsis (aOR, 3.67; 95% CI: 2.18-6.16) when compared to pre-Covid-19 patients. Early post-Covid-19 patients had an increased risk of developing postoperative pneumonia when compared to pre-Covid-19 patients (aOR, 2.44; 95% CI: 1.20-4.96). Late post-Covid-19 patients did not have an increased risk of postoperative complications when compared to pre-Covid-19 patients.

Conclusions: Major, elective surgery 0 to 4 weeks after SARS-CoV-2 infection is associated with an increased risk of postoperative complications. Surgery performed 4 to 8 weeks after SARS-CoV-2 infection is still associated with an increased risk of postoperative pneumonia, whereas surgery 8 weeks after Covid-19 diagnosis is not associated with increased complications.

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Lithotomy-related complications in the lower limbs after colorectal surgery

Sajid MS, Shakir AJ, Khatri K, Baig MK. Lithotomy-related neurovascular complications in the lower limbs after colorectal surgery. Colorectal Dis. 2011 Nov;13(11):1203-13. Full-text for Emory users.

Results: LRNVC after prolonged lithotomy position during colorectal surgery can be classified into vascular, neurological and neurovascular combined. Compartment syndrome (CS) is the most common clinical presentation. Seven case reports and 10 case series on 34 patients (27 men, 6 women) with CS have been reported. Risk factors included the lithotomy position and duration of surgery of more than 4 h.

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Caprini Risk Assessment Model for DVTs

Cronin M, Dengler N, Krauss ES, et al. Completion of the Updated Caprini Risk Assessment Model (2013 Version). Clin Appl Thromb Hemost. 2019 Jan-Dec;25:1076029619838052.

Abstract: The Caprini risk assessment model (RAM) has been validated in over 250,000 patients in more than 100 clinical trials worldwide. Ultimately, appropriate treatment options are dependent on precise completion of the Caprini RAM. As the numerical score increases, the clinical venous thromboembolism rate rises exponentially in every patient group where it has been properly tested. The 2013 Caprini RAM was completed by specially trained medical students via review of the presurgical assessment history, medical clearances, and medical consults. The Caprini RAM was completed for every participant both preoperatively and predischarge to ensure that any changes in the patient’s postoperative course were captured by the tool. This process led to the development of completion guidelines to ensure consistency and accuracy of scoring. The 2013 Caprini scoring system provides a consistent, thorough, and efficacious method for risk stratification and selection of prophylaxis for the prevention of venous thrombosis.

Post-Cholecystectomy Biliary Complications

Pesce A, et al. Iatrogenic bile duct injury: impact and management challenges. Clin Exp Gastroenterol. 2019 Mar 6;12:121-128. Free full-text.

“Iatrogenic BDIs represent a serious complication which can be brought on by cholecystectomy. The errors leading to laparoscopic bile duct lesions stem principally from misperception of the biliary anatomy. Any effort toward the reduction of the risk profile of everyday cholecystectomy is appreciated. The key points to successful treatment are characterized by early recognition, control of any intra-abdominal fluid collection and infection, nutritional balance, multidisciplinary approach, and surgical repair by an experienced surgeon in biliary reconstruction.”


Pekolj J, et al. Intraoperative management and repair of bile duct injuries sustained during 10,123 laparoscopic cholecystectomies in a high-volume referral center. J Am Coll Surg. 2013 May;216(5):894-901. Full-text for Emory users.

Results: Among 10,123 LC performed during the study period, 19 patients had a BDI sustained during the procedure. Intraoperative cholangiography was routinely used. Bile duct injury was diagnosed intraoperatively in 17 patients (89.4%). Mean age was 56.4 years (range 18 to 81 years) and 15 patients were women (88%). According to the Strasberg classification of BDI, there were 3 type C lesions, 12 type D lesions, and 2 type E2 lesions. There were no associated vascular injuries. Twelve cases (71%) were converted to open surgery. The repairs included 10 primary biliary closures, 4 Roux-en-Y hepaticojejunostomies, 2 end to end anastomosis, and 1 laparoscopic transpapillary drainage. Postoperative complications occurred in 5 patients (29.4%). During the follow-up period, early biliary strictures developed in 2 patients (11.7%) and were treated by percutaneous dilation and a Roux-en-Y hepaticojejunostomy with satisfactory long-term results.

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Article of interest: Transversus abdominis muscle release: a novel approach to posterior component separation during complex abdominal wall reconstruction

Novitsky YW, Elliott HL, Orenstein SB, Rosen MJ. Transversus abdominis muscle release: a novel approach to posterior component separation during complex abdominal wall reconstruction. Am J Surg. 2012 Nov;204(5):709-16.

Full-text for Emory users.

Background: Several modifications of the classic retromuscular Stoppa technique to facilitate dissection beyond the lateral border of the rectus sheath recently were reported. We describe a novel technique of transversus abdominis muscle release (TAR) for posterior component separation during major abdominal wall reconstructions.

Methods: Retrospective review of consecutive patients undergoing TAR. Briefly, the retromuscular space is developed laterally to the edge of the rectus sheath. The posterior rectus sheath is incised 0.5-1 cm underlying medial to the linea semilunaris to expose the medial edge of the transversus abdominis muscle. The muscle then is divided, allowing entrance to the space anterior to the transversalis fascia. The posterior rectus fascia then is advanced medially. The mesh is placed as a sublay and the linea alba is restored ventral to the mesh.

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Abdominal surgery in neutropenic patients

Jolissaint JS, et al. Timing and Outcomes of Abdominal Surgery in Neutropenic Patients. J Gastrointest Surg. 2019 Apr;23(4):643-650.

Full-text for Emory users.

Results: Amongst 237 patients, mortality was 11.8% (28/237) and morbidity 54.5% (130/237). Absolute neutrophil count < 500 cells/μL (50% vs. 20.6%, P < 0.01) and perforated viscus (35.7% vs. 14.8%, P = 0.01) were associated with mortality. Perforated viscus (25.4% vs. 7.5%) was also associated with morbidity. Urgent operations were associated with higher morbidity (63.6% vs 34.7%, P < 0.001) and mortality (16.4% vs 1.4%, P = 0.002) when compared to elective operations. Transfer from an outside hospital (22.3% vs. 11.2%, P = 0.02) and longer median time from admission to operation (2 days (IQR 0-6) vs. 1 day (IQR 0-3), P < 0.01) were associated with morbidity. An ANC threshold of 350 provided the best discrimination for mortality.

Conclusions: Elective surgery in the appropriately chosen neutropenic patient is relatively safe. For patients with obvious surgical pathology, we advocate for earlier operation and a lower threshold for surgical consultation in an effort expedite the diagnosis and necessary treatment.

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