Preventive effect of tamsulosin on postoperative urinary retention in neurosurgical patients

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Surg Neurol Int


BACKGROUND: Postoperative urinary retention (POUR) is common in neurosurgical patients. The use of alpha-blockade therapy, such as tamsulosin, has benefited many patients with a history of obstructive uropathy by decreasing lower urinary tract symptoms such as distension, infections, and stricture formation, as well as the incidence of POUR. For this study, we targeted patients who had undergone spinal surgery to examine the prophylactic effects of tamsulosin. Increased understanding of this therapy will assist in minimizing the morbidity of spinal surgery.

METHODS: We enrolled 95 male patients undergoing spine surgery in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either preoperative tamsulosin (N = 49) or a placebo (N = 46) and then followed-up prospectively for the development of POUR after removal of an indwelling urinary catheter (IUC). They were also followed-up for the incidence of IUC reinsertions.

RESULTS: The rate of developing POUR was similar in both the groups. Of the 49 patients given tamsulosin, 16 (36%) developed POUR compared to 13 (28%) from the control group (P = 0.455). In the control group, 5 (11%) patients had IUC re-inserted postoperatively, whereas 7 (14%) patients in the tamsulosin group had IUC re-inserted postoperatively (P = 0.616). In patients suffering from axial-type symptoms (i.e., mechanical back pain), 63% who received tamsulosin and 18% from the control group (P = 0.048) developed POUR.

CONCLUSION: Overall, there was no statistically significant difference in the rates of developing POUR among patients in either group. POUR is caused by a variety of factors, and further studies are needed to shed light on its etiology.


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