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Lanciano R , Corn B , Martin E , Schultheiss T , Hogan WM , Rosenblum N
Perioperative Morbidity of Intracavitary Gynecologic Brachytherapy
International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics. 1994 Jul 30;29(5) :969-974
PMID: ISI:A1994PE33800005   
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Purpose: To define the incidence and severity of perioperative morbidity and its subsequent management with standard tandem and ovoid insertions and to evaluate pretreatment and treatment factors associated with an increased risk of perioperative morbidity. Methods and Materials: Ninety-five tandem and ovoid insertions were performed at the Fox Chase Cancer Center between 1985 and 1992 for cervical (n = 91) and endometrial (n = 4) cancer. Patients were placed on antibiotics in 19%, usually for a positive routine preoperative urine culture, but no patient was given prophylactic antibiotic therapy. Deep-vein thrombosis prophylaxis was practiced for 70% of implants and included subcutaneous heparin (40%), graduated compression elastic stockings (16%), and external pneumatic calf compression (14%). All patients were placed on prophylactic diphenoxylate hydrochloride, with doses ranging from three to eight tablets/day. Results: Intraoperative complications were seen in 3% of implants and included two perforations and a vaginal laceration in two patients. Twenty-four percent of implants (16 patients) developed temperatures of > 100.5 (range 100.6 to 103), although only one patient required implant removal because of fever. Management of fever included antibiotics in 35% and acetaminophen only in 65%. Five implants (5%) were removed emergently secondary to presumed sepsis (n = 1), exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypotension, change in mental status (n = 3), and myocardial infarction/congestive heart failure (n = 1). No patient developed a deep-vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, gastrointestinal obstruction, or died of a postoperative complication. Univariate analysis of pretreatment and treatment factors revealed older age (p < 0.005) and spinal/epidural anesthesia (p < 0.02) to be associated with increased perioperative morbidity, and older age (p < 0.05) and higher ASA classification (p < 0.02) to be associated with severe complications requiring removal of implant. Multivariate analysis revealed only older age (p < 0.01) to be significantly related to perioperative morbidity. Conclusions: Fever of > 100.5 was seen in 24% of implants and can be managed successfully without removal of the implant in 96% of cases. Use of antibiotics preoperatively and intraoperatively did not reduce the risk of perioperative temperature elevation. Use of routine diphenoxylate hydrochloride prophylaxis was tolerated without ileus or gastrointestinal obstruction clinically. Although routine deep-vein thrombosis prophylaxis is reasonable, our data would support a low risk of deep-vein thrombosis for untreated patients. Severe perioperative morbidity necessitated premature implant removal in only 5% of cases and was related to older age in multivariate analysis.