Purpose: Hemorrhagic cystitis can occur 6 months to 10 years after pelvic radiation therapy with moderate to severe persistent rates of hematuria as 3% to 5% after radiotherapy for pelvic malignancies. Current treatment modalities for hemorrhagic cystitis include oral and intravenous agents, intravesical therapy and selective embolization of the hypogastric arteries. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is now a widely accepted treatment option for radiation induced hemorrhagic cystitis. We assess the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen for treatment of hemorrhagic cystitis.
Material and methods: From May 1988 through March 2001, 62 patients with radiation induced hemorrhagic cystitis were treated with hyperbaric oxygen at our institution. Followup ranged from 10 to 120 months. The primary pathological conditions were prostate cancer (81%) and bladder cancer (10%). Mean patient age was 70 years (range 15 to 88). Mean time between completion of radiation therapy and onset of hematuria was 48 months (range 0 to 355). Patients received an average of 33 hyperbaric oxygen treatments (range 9 to 68).
Results: Of the 62 patients treated information on 57 was available for analysis. Of the 57 patients (86%) 49 experienced complete resolution or marked improvement of hematuria following hyperbaric oxygen treatment. Of the 8 patients who did not improve 4 received fewer than 40 hyperbaric oxygen treatments and 7 prematurely terminated treatment (medical co-morbidities 4, claustrophobia 2, temporary resolution of symptoms 1).
Conclusions: Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for radiation induced hemorrhagic cystitis is an efficacious treatment modality for patients in whom other forms of management have failed.