Ethanol-glycine irrigating fluid for transurethral resection of the prostate in practice

BJU Int. 2000 Jul;86(1):43-6. doi: 10.1046/j.1464-410x.2000.00733.x.


Objective: To evaluate the usefulness of a tracer of 1% ethanol in 1. 5% glycine in the early detection of irrigation fluid absorption during transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP).

Patients and methods: Patients (120) undergoing TURP were irrigated with 1% ethanol in 1.5% glycine solution and their expired air tested for alcohol every 10 min during the procedure.

Results: In all, 112 patients were assessed; over half of the patients absorbed the irrigation fluid and they had a significantly lower postoperative serum sodium concentration (P < 0.002). Fourteen patients (12.5%) absorbed over 500 mL and two (1.8%) developed clinical features of the TUR syndrome. The experience of the surgeon, the weight of resected chips and the operative duration were not significantly predictive of absorption.

Conclusion: A tracer amount of ethanol in the irrigant is reliable for detecting absorption. Irrigating fluid absorption was unpredictable, thus supporting the case for routine monitoring.

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Drug Combinations
  • Ethanol*
  • Glycine*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostatic Diseases / surgery*
  • Therapeutic Irrigation / methods*
  • Transurethral Resection of Prostate / methods*


  • Drug Combinations
  • Ethanol
  • Glycine