Introduction and objectives: hemorrhagic cystitis (HC) after pelvic radiotherapy occurs in 2-8% of patients. A variety of treatments have been described, most of them with uncertain results. We assessed the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in HC cases.
Patients and methods: retrospective analysis of patients with HC after pelvic radiotherapy receiving HBOT at our center between January 2002 and January 2010. Our protocol included 40 sessions of HBOT in a multiplace hyperbaric chamber with 90minutes of 100% oxygen breathing at 2.2 atm. Success was evaluated in terms of total or partial stop of bladder bleeding. Telephone follow-up was updated at the time of submission in all cases.
Results: twenty-five patients were treated (21 male, 4 female); the mean age was 66.7 years. Twenty men were irradiated for prostate cancer and one for bladder cancer. Three women had cervix cancer and one endometrial cancer. In all cases previous conservative treatment had failed and HBOT was considered only after other measures failed. All the patients responded to HBOT and none recurred after end of treatment at a mean follow-up of 21.2 months. There were no serious complications.
Conclusion: HBOT is a highly effective and safe, non-invasive therapy for HC secondary to pelvic radiation; it should be considered as first line alternative in these difficult cases.
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