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Editorial: Robotic and conventional open radical cystectomy lead to similar postoperative health-related quality of life

In this month’s issue of BJU International, Messer et al. [1] devise a prospective randomised trial to compare postoperative health-related quality of life (HRQoL) after robot-assisted (RARC) vs conventional open radical cystectomy (ORC). The investigators evaluated 40 patients over a follow-up period of 1 year and found no significant difference in HRQoL between surgical approaches. Moreover, they showed that the postoperative decrease in HRQoL returns to baseline within 3 months of surgery.

RC is one of the most challenging and potentially mutilating surgical interventions in the urological field and represents the standard-of-care treatment for patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer. It is associated with a non-negligible risk of morbidity and mortality [2]. With the advent of new technologies, such as the Da Vinci surgical robot, carefully designed studies are needed to weigh the potential benefits of a novel approach against the increased costs associated with such tools. While RARC holds the promise of combining the benefits of a minimally invasive intervention with the precise robotic translation of the surgeon’s movements, these claims remain to be definitely proven in the clinical setting. As such, further elucidating the effect of surgical approach on perioperative outcomes after RC is essential for treatment planning, patient counselling and informed decision-making before surgery.

QoL is increasingly used as a quantitative measure of treatment success [3, 4]. These measures are gaining considerable traction in the USA, as reimbursements will soon be tied to patient satisfaction. While previous retrospective studies suggest that RARC has comparable perioperative oncological outcomes with potentially lower morbidity relative to ORC [5], there is a scarcity of high-quality evidence on HRQoL outcomes of RARC vs ORC. The difficulties of conducting randomised trials in the surgical setting are reflected by the relatively few participants in the Messer et al. [1] trial. Nonetheless, in their pilot study, the authors demonstrated the feasibility of a HRQoL trial in RC patients. Furthermore, they deliver initial evidence on the impact of surgical approach on HRQoL after RC.

From a clinical perspective, the authors contribute interesting findings to the ongoing debate. Their results suggest that the potential benefits of robot-assisted surgery on HRQoL may be limited in patients undergoing complex oncological surgery such as RC. Several hypotheses may be pertinent to their conclusions. For example, performing an open urinary diversion after RARC that can take as much time as the actual extirpative RC may mitigate any potential benefit of the minimally invasive approach. Furthermore, the study findings may be largely influenced by the surgical skills of the participating surgeons. Maybe the correct interpretation of their study findings is that there was no significant difference in HRQoL outcomes between ORC and RARC, at the institution where the trial was performed.

Nonetheless, the authors suitably demonstrate the feasibility of performing a randomised trial in this field and pave the way towards adequately powered, randomised multicentre trials that can provide further evidence on what impact RARC may have on perioperative outcomes and beyond.

Julian Hanske, Florian Roghmann, Joachim Noldus and Quoc-Dien Trinh*

Department of Urology, Marien Hospital, Ruhr-University Bochum, Herne, Germany, and *Division of Urologic Surgery and Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

References

1 Messer JC, Punnen S, Fitzgerald J, Svatek R, Parekh DJ. Health-related quality of life from a prospective randomised clinical trial of robot-assisted laparoscopic vs open radical cystectomy. BJU Int 2014; 114: 896–902

2 Roghmann F, Trinh QD, Braun K et al. Standardized assessment of complications in a contemporary series of European patients undergoing radical cystectomy. Int J Urol 2014; 21: 143–9

3 Cookson MS, Dutta SC, Chang SS, Clark T, Smith JA Jr, Wells N. Health related quality of life in patients treated with radical cystectomy and urinary diversion for urothelial carcinoma of the bladder: development and validation of a new disease specific questionnaire. J Urol 2003; 170: 1926–30

4 Loppenberg B, von Bodman C, Brock M, Roghmann F, Noldus J, Palisaar RJ. Effect of perioperative complications and functional outcomes on health-related quality of life after radical prostatectomy. Qual Life Res 2014. doi: 10.1007/s11136-014-0729-1

5 Kader AK, Richards KA, Krane LS, Pettus JA, Smith JJ, Hemal AK. Robot-assisted laparoscopic vs open radical cystectomy: comparison of complications and periopera

 

Video: Robot-assisted laparoscopic vs open radical cystectomy – health-related QoL from a prospective randomised clinical trial

Health-related quality of life from a prospective randomised clinical trial of robot-assisted laparoscopic vs open radical cystectomy

Jamie C. Messer, Sanoj Punnen*, John Fitzgerald, Robert Svatek and Dipen J. Parekh

Department of Urology, University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX and *Department of Urology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA

Objective

To compare health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) outcomes for robot-assisted laparoscopic radical cystectomy (RARC) with those of traditional open radical cystectomy (ORC) in a prospective randomised fashion.

Patients and Methods

This was a prospective randomised clinical trial evaluating the HRQoL for ORC vs RARC in consecutive patients from July 2009 to June 2011. We administered the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy–Vanderbilt Cystectomy Index questionnaire, validated to assess HRQoL, preoperatively and then at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months postoperatively. Scores for each domain and total scores were compared in terms of deviation from preoperative values for both the RARC and the ORC cohorts. Multivariate linear regression was used to assess the association between the type of radical cystectomy and HRQoL.

Results

At the time of the study, 47 patients had met the inclusion criteria, with 40 patients being randomised for analysis. The cohorts consisted of 20 patients undergoing ORC and 20 undergoing RARC, who were balanced with respect to baseline demographic and clinical features. Univariate analysis showed a return to baseline scores at 3 months postoperatively in all measured domains with no statistically significant difference among the various domains between the RARC and the ORC cohorts. Multivariate analysis showed no difference in HRQoL between the two approaches in any of the various domains, with the exception of a slightly higher physical well-being score in the RARC group at 6 months.

Conclusions

There were no significant differences in the HRQoL outcomes between ORC and RARC, with a return of quality of life scores to baseline scores 3 months after radical cystectomy in both cohorts.

Read more articles of the week

Article of the week: Mortality after cystectomy is related to hospital volume

Every week the Editor-in-Chief selects the Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by prominent members of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

Finally, the third post under the Article of the Week heading on the homepage will consist of additional material or media. This week we feature a video from Dr. Nielsen and Dr. Milowsky discussing their paper.

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Association of hospital volume with conditional 90-day mortality after cystectomy: an analysis of the National Cancer Data Base

Matthew E. Nielsen*†‡, Katherine Mallin§, Mark A. Weaver, Bryan Palis§, Andrew Stewart§, David P. Winchester§ and Matthew I. Milowsky*,**

*University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Urology, and Divisions of General Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology and **Hematology and Oncology, University of North Carolina School Something like this?of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC, and §American College of Surgeons, National Cancer Data Base, Chicago, IL, USA

This research was presented at the Society of Urologic Oncology 2012 Annual Meeting, 29 November 2012, Bethesda, MD, USA

Read the full article
OBJECTIVE

To examine the association of hospital volume and 90-day mortality after cystectomy, conditional on survival for 30 days.

PATIENTS AND METHODS

The National Cancer Data Base was used to evaluate 30- and 90-day mortality for 35 055 patients who underwent cystectomy for bladder cancer at one of 1118 hospitals.

Patient data were aggregated into hospital volume categories based on the mean annual number of procedures (low-volume hospital: <10 procedures; intermediate-volume hospital: 10–19 procedures; high-volume hospital: ≥20 procedures).

Associations between mortality and clinical, demographic and hospital characteristics were analysed using hierarchical logistic regression models. To assess the association between hospital volume and 90-day mortality independently of shorter-term mortality, 90-day mortality conditional on 30-day survival was assessed in the multivariate modelling.

RESULTS

Unadjusted 30- and 90-day mortality rates were 2.7 and 7.2% overall, 1.9 and 5.7% among high-volume hospitals, and 3.2 and 8.0% among low-volume hospitals, respectively.

Compared with high-volume hospitals, the adjusted risks among low-volume hospitals (odds ratio [95% CI]) of 30- and 90-day mortality, conditional on having survived for 30 days, from the hierarchical models were 1.5 (1.3–1.9), and 1.2 (1.0–1.4), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

A low hospital volume was associated with greater 30- and 90-day mortality. These data support the need for further research to better understand the relatively high mortality rates seen between 30 and 90 days, which are high and less variable across hospital volume strata.

The stronger association between volume and 30-day mortality suggests that quality-reporting efforts should focus on shorter-term outcomes.

Read more articles of the week

 

Editorial: High hospital volume reduces mortality after cystectomy

In the current issue of BJUI, Nielsen et al. [1] assessed the role of hospital characteristics on the risk of short-term mortality in a contemporary cohort of patients with bladder cancer treated with radical cystectomy (RC) representing the USA population. In their investigation, the authors evaluated >35 000 undergoing RC included within the National Cancer Database. Interestingly, they showed that hospital volume represents an independent predictor of both 30- and 90-day mortality. Several studies already explored the association between hospital characteristics (i.e., hospital volume) and short- and long-term postoperative outcomes, e.g. complication, blood transfusion, readmission, and mortality rates after RC [2-5]. Although this topic has already been broadly investigated, the current study was able to determine the 90-day mortality rates conditional on survival to 30 days after RC.

From a clinical standpoint, the authors report several relevant findings. First, hospital volume represented an independent predictor of 90-day mortality after RC [1]. Particularly, patients treated in centres performing an average of >20 RC/year had significantly lower mortality rates compared with those undergoing RC in smaller volume hospitals. However, it should be noted that the magnitude of the effect was substantially greater when evaluating the 30-day period as compared with 90 days after RC. This observation leads to clinically relevant considerations. Indeed, it might be speculated that the better quality of care generally provided in high-volume tertiary referral centres has a substantial impact on perioperative outcomes and mortality. However, this effect manifests itself mainly in the immediate period after RC. This is consistent with previous studies evaluating the impact of hospital volume on perioperative outcomes in inpatient cohorts [4, 5]. For example, Trinh et al. [3] showed that this parameter was significantly associated with the risk of dying in the perioperative period when a complication occurred. In this context, tertiary referral centres might be better equipped to assist patients in the postoperative period and eventually treat them in a timely fashion [4]. Particularly, better processes of care, e.g. preoperative patient evaluation, invasive monitoring, and perioperative consultations with critical care and other units, might be at least in part responsible for this phenomenon [4]. These observations justify the referral to high-volume centres when a major surgical procedure is planned [3, 4]. On the other hand, the quality of the assistance received during hospitalisation might have a limited impact on postoperative outcomes after hospital discharge. Consequently, these findings might be used to advocate better home care in order to improve patient management after hospital discharge and, in turn, reduce the risk of perioperative morbidity and mortality.

Second, it should be noted that a substantial proportion of patients had died by the 3-month follow-up (7.2%). Moreover, up to 5% of patients who survived at 1 month after RC died in the following 2 months. These observations are consistent with previous studies and highlight the need for better perioperative patient management [1, 3, 5, 6]. Additionally, these sobering figures should be used to advocate better patient selection in order to spare the potential RC-related complications in frail patients, where alternative and less invasive treatment options might be considered.

Concluding, the study by Nielsen et al. [1] further demonstrates that patients with bladder cancer undergoing RC have a non-negligible risk of perioperative mortality at 30- and 90-days after RC. Patients treated at higher volume centres (≥20 procedures/year) experience better perioperative outcomes compared with their counterparts undergoing RC at lower volume institutions (<10 procedures/year). However, the effect of hospital volume on the risk of perioperative mortality is considerably greater in the early period after RC. Consequently, substantive efforts should be made to improve postoperative patient care even after hospital discharge.

Read the full article

Giorgio Gandaglia*, Pierre I. Karakiewicz, Quoc-Dien Trinh and Maxine Sun*

*Cancer Prognostics and Health Outcomes Unit, University of Montreal Health Centre, Canada, Urological Research Institute, San Raffaele Hospital, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy, and Center for Surgery and Public Health, Division of Urologic Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

References

  1. Nielsen ME, Mallin K, Weaver MA et al. Association of hospital volume with conditional 90-day mortality after cystectomy: an analysis of the national cancer database. BJU Int 2014; 114: 46–55
  2. Kulkarni GS, Urbach DR, Austin PC, Fleshner NE, Laupacis A. Higher surgeon and hospital volume improves long-term survival after radical cystectomy. Cancer 2013; 119: 3546–3554
  3. Trinh VQ, Trinh QD, Tian Z et al. In-hospital mortality and failure-to-rescue rates after radical cystectomy. BJU Int 2013; 112: E20–27
  4. Sun M, Ravi P, Karakiewicz PI et al. Is there a relationship between leapfrog volume thresholds and perioperative outcomes after radical cystectomy? Urol Oncol 2014; 32: 27 e7–13
  5. Kim SP, Boorjian SA, Shah ND et al. Contemporary trends of in-hospital complications and mortality for radical cystectomy. BJU Int 2012; 110: 1163–1168
  6. Gandaglia G, Popa I, Abdollah F et al. The effect of neoadjuvant chemotherapy on perioperative outcomes in patients who have bladder cancer treated with radical cystectomy: a population-based study. Eur Urol 2014; (in press) doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2014.01.014

 

Read more articles of the week

Video: Hospital volume and conditional 90-day post-cystectomy mortality

Association of hospital volume with conditional 90-day mortality after cystectomy: an analysis of the National Cancer Data Base

Matthew E. Nielsen*†‡, Katherine Mallin§, Mark A. Weaver, Bryan Palis§, Andrew Stewart§, David P. Winchester§ and Matthew I. Milowsky*,**

*University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Urology, and Divisions of General Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology and **Hematology and Oncology, University of North Carolina School Something like this?of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC, and §American College of Surgeons, National Cancer Data Base, Chicago, IL, USA

This research was presented at the Society of Urologic Oncology 2012 Annual Meeting, 29 November 2012, Bethesda, MD, USA

Read the full article
OBJECTIVE

To examine the association of hospital volume and 90-day mortality after cystectomy, conditional on survival for 30 days.

PATIENTS AND METHODS

The National Cancer Data Base was used to evaluate 30- and 90-day mortality for 35 055 patients who underwent cystectomy for bladder cancer at one of 1118 hospitals.

Patient data were aggregated into hospital volume categories based on the mean annual number of procedures (low-volume hospital: <10 procedures; intermediate-volume hospital: 10–19 procedures; high-volume hospital: ≥20 procedures).

Associations between mortality and clinical, demographic and hospital characteristics were analysed using hierarchical logistic regression models. To assess the association between hospital volume and 90-day mortality independently of shorter-term mortality, 90-day mortality conditional on 30-day survival was assessed in the multivariate modelling.

RESULTS

Unadjusted 30- and 90-day mortality rates were 2.7 and 7.2% overall, 1.9 and 5.7% among high-volume hospitals, and 3.2 and 8.0% among low-volume hospitals, respectively.

Compared with high-volume hospitals, the adjusted risks among low-volume hospitals (odds ratio [95% CI]) of 30- and 90-day mortality, conditional on having survived for 30 days, from the hierarchical models were 1.5 (1.3–1.9), and 1.2 (1.0–1.4), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

A low hospital volume was associated with greater 30- and 90-day mortality. These data support the need for further research to better understand the relatively high mortality rates seen between 30 and 90 days, which are high and less variable across hospital volume strata.

The stronger association between volume and 30-day mortality suggests that quality-reporting efforts should focus on shorter-term outcomes.

Read more articles of the week

 

#UroJC July 2014 – Is there a place for laser techniques in our current schema of bladder cancer diagnosis and management?

This month’s International Urology Journal Club (@iurojc) truly engaged a global audience with participants from ten countries including author Thomas Herrman (@trwhermann) from Hannover, Germany.  A landmark 2000 followers was reached during July, nearly two years since @iurojc’s conception in late 2012. In fact, since this time nearly 1100 people have participated in the journal club from around the world.

Bladder cancer was up for debate for the first time this year and @iurojc trialled the discussion of two complementary articles recently published online ahead of print in the World Journal of Urology.  The first article provided an update of the current evidence for transurethral Ho:YAG and Tm:YAG in the endoscopic treatment of bladder cancer, and the second was a randomised controlled trial (RCT) comparing laser to the gold standard transurethral resection of bladder tumour (TURBT).  Authorship groups were from Germany and China respectively; our Chinese authors unfortunately unable to join the dialogue due to restriction on all twitter activity in the country.

Initial conversation focussed on the methodology, results and limitations of the RCT, however this soon extended to a more general discussion around the current difficulties with the diagnosis and management of bladder cancer and the pros and cons of using laser for this purpose.  Key themes debated over the 48-hour period included the importance of accurate staging, current standards of TURBT, advantages of en bloc resection and the learning curve, cost and usefulness of laser technology.

Both studies reiterated one of the major goals outlined in the EAU guidelines for non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC), to achieve correct staging with inclusion of detrusor muscle and complete resection of tumours.  This is important in limiting second resection and consequently has a resulting cost offset.  In the review article, only 3 studies commented on staging quality and another two commented that laser was suitable for staging but did not specify if detrusor muscle was identified.

@ChrisFilson and @CBayneMD expressed their concern over the RCT by Chen and Colleagues

@linton_kate astutely pointed out another limitation

and author of the review article @trwherrmann summed this up nicely

In the RCT by Chen et al. there was a significantly greater number of pT1 tumours detected with laser than TURBT, the authors suggested this might be due to better sampling.  It remains unclear if this would impact on management and this did not enter the arena for discussion during this @iurojc.

Many argued that TURBT techniques and practices should be optimised before newer techniques are introduced.

‘En bloc’ was touted as the new trendy word in endourology.  EAU guidelines recommend en bloc resection for smaller tumours.  The articles suggested that en bloc resection of bladder tumours should provide more accurate staging however conclusive data is missing to substantiate this in the current literature. 

@DrHWoo discussed potential advantages of the laser technique

@linton_kate pointed out that en bloc resection is not limited to the laser technique

Further to this, the lack of obturator nerve reflection with laser was emphasised in the RCT.  Obturator kick was noted during TURBT in 18 patients and none during laser resection, however none of these patients suffered bladder perforation.  The significance of this was debated and usefulness of obturator block in this context discussed.

The pendulum seemed to the swing out of favour of laser during the discussion, with several limitations outlined including reduced ability for re-resection, cost and the presence of a learning curve.

Regarding additional cost, the host rebutted

The flow of academic dialogue was interrupted midstream (pardon the pun) by a light-hearted discussion around the ergonomics of TURBT.

Below are some of the key take home messages that arose from the usual culprits in this month’s @iruojc discussion

Kindly author @trwherrmann invited us to his upcoming en bloc resection workshop.  Keep an eye out for this.

@iurojc would like to thank Prostate Cancer Prostatic Diseases who have kindly provided the prize for this month which is a 12 month on line subscription to the journal. @nickbrookMD’s made efforts to sway the vote his way.

Whilst usually the Best Tweet Prize is reserved for some incisive comment, the repeated complaints from @nickbrookMD for his failure to ever win the Best Tweet prize has seen for the first and final time that the @iurojc has bowed to pressure. Congratulations to @nickbrookMD for finally having made it with the above tweet.

If you haven’t tuned into @iurojc, follow future journal club discussions via the hashtag #urojc, on the first Sunday/Monday of each month. 

 

Dr Marnique Basto (@DrMarniqueB) is a USANZ trainee from Victoria who recently completed a Masters of Surgery in the health economics of robotic surgery and has an interest in SoMe in Urology.

 

 

 

 

Reaching a consensus…robotic radical cystectomy

What is your impression of a “consensus statement”? We have these periodically in urology and they do tend to get widely read. One wonders, how difficult could it be for a bunch of urologists to reach a consensus on something?? Especially if, at the end of the day, we are all agreeing to cut something out?! It’s not like radiation or doing nothing are on the cards for this particular topic! How difficult could it be?

Well, let me give you a peak into the workings of the robotic-assisted radical cystectomy (RARC) Consensus Conference which took place at the City of Hope Hospital in California last weekend, the findings to be known as “The Pasadena Consensus Statement on RARC”. This two-day conference took place in the beautiful foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California, and was hosted by Dr. Tim Wilson, Chief of Urology at City of Hope. The event was co-ordinated by the eminent New England Research Institute, led by Dr. Ray Rosen, and funded by a generous philanthropist affiliated with the hospital. The format of the meeting was familiar, as there has already been a Pasadena Consensus Statement on robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy, which was published in European Urology in 2012 along with four systematic reviews, all of which have been highly-cited. The conference invited a group of leaders in radical cystectomy, open as well as robotic, to participate and the resulting faculty features some highly-published figures in muscle-invasive bladder cancer, including some of the pioneers of RARC. These include:

  • Tim Wilson, City of Hope, California
  • Bernie Bochner, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, New York
  • Peter Wiklund, Karolinska, Sweden
  • Khurshid Guru, Roswell Park, New York
  • Eila Skinner, Stanford University, California
  • Joan Palou, Fundacio-Puigvert, Barcelona
  • Jim Catto, Editor-in-Chief, European Urology, Sheffield
  • Giacomo Novara, Padua, Italy
  • Bertrand Yuh, City of Hope, California
  • Declan Murphy, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne
  • Magnus Annerstedt, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Arnulf Stenzl, Tuebingen, Germany
  • Kevin Chan, City of Hope, California
  • Jim Peabody, Vattikuti Urology Institute, Detroit 

Photo courtesy of Dr Jim Catto.

The goal was to review the current evidence for RARC (by way of systematic reviews and other detailed review), and to agree a “Best Practices” white paper. We had been split into working groups and had submitted slides overviewing our topics ahead of time. The two-day schedule then allowed presentation of these slides with (very) detailed critique and discussion. Systematic review maestro Giacomo Novara had worked with Bertrand Yuh to complete the systematic reviews prior to the conference and findings from these also informed much discussion. Bernie Bochner (the most knowledgeable person I have ever met on the topic of muscle-invasive bladder cancer!), kindly agreed to present the findings from the MSKCC randomised controlled trial which are key data in this area. This paper is about to be submitted so the Pasadena group will be able to include these findings in the final papers.

So was it a cosy chat in the Californian sunshine with much nodding of heads on key topics? Well, occasionally! The group were very sociable with very lively interaction, but there was certainly robust discussion on certain topics. Some of these leaked out on Twitter as one might expect with a few prominent uro-twitterati in the room (@jimcatto, @giacomonovara, @declangmurphy, @joanfundi, @AStenzl, @jamesopeabody), and with a lively response from social media enthusiasts from around the world getting involved in the #RARC conversation (@dytcmd, @@uretericbud, @daviesbj, @dmsomford, @matthayn, @kahmed198, @uroegg, @UROncdoc, @urogill, @urorao, @nickbrookMD, @joshmeeks, @wandering_gu, @urologymatch, @urology_verona, @chrisfilson, @mattbultitude, @clebacle, @chapinMD, @ggandaglia, @urogeek, and more) – every corner of the globe involved!

At certain times, the weight of data for open radical cystectomy was difficult to counter, and led to lively discussion between Bernie and Khurshid. For confidentiality reasons, we can’t reveal key findings until the final papers have been written and published, but Twitter does allow a sneak peak:

A general lament was the lack of high-quality data overall, as tweeted in this quote from Arnulf Stenzl:

However, some of the big publications from the pioneering centres, especially the data from the International Robotic Cystectomy Consortium (IRCC), and the RCT from Memorial have given us plenty to consider.

Having been involved in another large consensus statement recently (The Melbourne Consensus Statement on the Early Detection of Prostate Cancer), I can tell you that these statements feature very robust discussion before consensus is reached, and occasionally consensus is not reached leading to topics being omitted. The chosen faculty for such statements are highly-knowledgeable leaders in the field, but often have views which are highly discordant. The Chair has a great challenge to moderate so that the final statements are agreeable to all, and I am sure that the Pasadena Statement on RARC will prove of great interest to all working in this field.

[The Pasadena Consensus Statement Best Practices white paper will be published in European Urology in coming months, along with two systematic reviews and a Surgery in Motion technique paper]

Declan Murphy is a urologist at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia, and Associate Editor at BJUI. Twitter @declangmurphy

Disclosure – Declan Murphy received support to cover travel and accommodation costs through the New England Research Institute. No industry support was received by any participants in this conference.

 

Flying high as a kite

Some of my happiest memories are from my childhood. Part of it was spent in Lucknow where my mother had her ancestral home. An important city in Northern India, Lucknow was the seat of the Nawabs who built many beautiful palaces. One of these has a labyrinth, which many have entered only to get lost within its many chambers. Another, the Chhota Imambara is pictured on the cover. Lucknow is also famous for its cuisine with street vendors selling tasty kebabs. Above all, I remember many hours perched on the roof top of our home in the old town, flying kites, with my family. The sky above became a riot of colours. Today there is even a touring company offering nostalgic kite flying holidays in this ancient city.

In May, our Article of the Month comes from the King George Medical University, Lucknow. In a prospective, longitudinal comparison over six years, of a large number of patients undergoing urinary diversion after radical cystectomy, the authors demonstrate better quality of life after orthotopic neobladder rather than ileal conduit formation [1]. The mean age of the patients was in the mid 50s, which is perhaps why a significant number underwent neobladder formation. This article and the accompanying editorial from Urs Studer [2] are must reads for anyone involved in the management of bladder cancer. In the UK many of our patients are generally older with multiple co-morbidities and end up having ileal conduits. For the younger patients it is perhaps time for a rethink?

We also feature an excellent multi-institutional collaboration reporting on PCNL outcomes in England from the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) database over a five year period. Mortality is rare after this procedure but 9% of patients have a readmission within 30 days [3]. While the HES like most other databases has its inherent limitations, the authors should be congratulated for analysing complex outcomes on nearly 6000 patients; in particular John Withington who is writing his thesis on the subject.

And finally – an invitation. If you are attending the AUA, we are again having a BAUS–BJUI–USANZ session on the afternoon of the 18 May. The faculty is international and the program even more exciting than it was last year. This is a further testament to the strong friendship that exists between our organisations and the AUA. The Coffey–Krane prize for the best paper published in the BJUI by a trainee, will be presented at the end of this session followed by the BJUI reception.

Many of you have loved our new design, layout and quality although this has led to a precipitous drop in our acceptance rate in favour of only the very best papers. Thank you for your support, which has given us the strength and resolve to fly high. The sky is the limit.

Prof. Prokar Dasgupta
Editor-in-Chief, BJUI

King’s College London, Guy’s Hospital#

References

  1. Singh V, Yadav R, Sinha RJ, Gupta DK. Prospective comparison of quality-of-life outcomes between ileal conduit urinary diversion and orthotopic neobladder reconstruction after radical cystectomy: a statistical model. BJU Int 2014; 113: 726–732
  2. Studer UE. Life is good with orthotopic bladder substitutes! BJU Int 2014; 113: 686–687
  3. Armitage JN, Withington J, van der Meulen J, et al. Percutaneous nephrolithotomy in England: practice and outcomes described in the Hospital Episode Statistics database. BJU Int 2014; 113: 777–782

 

Article of the month: Better QOL with orthotopic neobladders

Every week the Editor-in-Chief selects the Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

Finally, the third post under the Article of the Week heading on the homepage will consist of additional material or media. This week we feature a video from Dr. Singh of orthotopic neobladder reconstruction by sigmoid colon.

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one

Prospective comparison of quality-of-life outcomes between ileal conduit urinary diversion and orthotopic neobladder reconstruction after radical cystectomy: a statistical model

Vishwajeet Singh, Rahul Yadav, Rahul Janak Sinha and Dheeraj Kumar Gupta
Department of Urology, King George Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Read the full article
OBJECTIVE

• To conduct a prospective comparison of quality-of-life (QoL) outcomes in patients who underwent ileal conduit (IC) urinary diversion with those who underwent orthotopic neobladder (ONB) reconstruction after radical cystectomy for invasive bladder cancers.

PATIENTS AND METHODS

• Between January 2007 and December 2012, 227 patients underwent radical cystectomy and either IC urinary diversion or ONB (sigmoid or ileal) reconstruction.

• Contraindications for ON were impaired renal function (serum creatinine >2 mg/dL), chronic inflammatory bowel disease, previous bowel resection and tumour involvement at the bladder neck/prostatic urethra. Patients who did not have these contraindications chose to undergo either IC or ONB reconstruction, after impartial counselling.

• Baseline characteristics, including demographic profile, body mass index, comorbidities, histopathology of the cystoprostatectomy (with lymph nodes) specimen, pathological tumour stage, postoperative complications, adjuvant therapy and relapse, were recorded and compared.

• The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer QoL questionnaire C30 version 3 was used to analyse QoL before surgery and 6, 12 and 18 months after surgery.

RESULTS

• Of the 227 patients, 28 patients in the IC group and 35 in the ONB group were excluded. The final analysis included 80 patients in the IC and 84 in the ONB group.

• None of the baseline characteristics were significantly different between the groups, except for age, but none of the baseline QoL variables were found to be correlated with age.

• In the preoperative phase, there were no significant differences in any of the QoL domains between the IC or the ONB groups. At 6, 12 and 18 months in the postoperative period, physical functioning (P < 0.001, P < 0.001 and P = 0.001, respectively), role functioning (P = 0.01, P = 0.01 and P = 0.003, respectively), social functioning (P = 0.01, P = 0.01 and P = 0.01, respectively) and global health status/QoL (P < 0.001, P < 0.001 and P = 0.002, respectively) were better in patients in the ONB group than in those in the IC group and the differences were significant.

• The financial burden related to bladder cancer treatment was significantly lower in the ONB group than in the IC group at 6, 12 and 18 months of follow-up (P = 0.05, P = 0.05 and P = 0.005, respectively)

CONCLUSIONS

• ONB is better than IC in terms of physical functioning, role functioning, social functioning, global health status/QoL and financial expenditure.

• ONB reconstruction provides better QoL outcomes than does IC urinary diversion.

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Editorial: Life is good with orthotopic bladder substitutes!

In the present issue of the BJUI, Singh et al. [1] present the results of a non-randomized prospective study comprising 80 patients who underwent ileal conduit diversion and 84 who underwent orthotopic bladder substitution. Quality of life was assessed using the European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer quality-of-life questionnaire, the QLQ-30C, at 6, 12 and 18 months postoperatively. Physical and social functioning and global health status were significantly better in patients with orthotopic bladder substitution than in those who underwent ileal conduit diversion. Moreover, the postoperative financial burden was significantly lower for patients in the orthotopic bladder group than for those in the ileal conduit group, who required stoma appliances, a finding of particular importance not only in India, where the study was performed, but worldwide. The authors’ results are particularly impressive given their use of a questionnaire that included many items (‘Were you short of breath?’, ‘Did you need to rest?’, ‘Have you lacked appetite?’, ‘Have you been constipated?’, ‘Did you feel tense?’, ‘Did you worry’ or ‘Did you feel irritable?’, etc.) that can hardly discriminate between the quality of life of patients who underwent orthotopic bladder substitution and those who underwent ileal conduit diversion. To find significant differences between the two types of urinary diversion, despite such dilution factors, speaks strongly in favour of orthotopic bladder substitution.

The results of this prospective single-centre trial are of particular importance because, as the authors state, other investigators could not show such differences, presumably for a variety of reasons, such as too few patients or single follow-up assessments given at time points that varied from patient to patient. Quality-of-life assessment at similar follow-up time points, as performed by these authors, is important because, with adequate counselling, the postoperative function of orthotopic bladder substitutes improves over time.

Without a doubt, however, a poorly functioning orthotopic bladder substitute may lead to a poorer quality of life than a well-functioning ileal conduit diversion. Poor functional results and life-threatening complications can be largely avoided with ileal orthotopic bladder substitutes, provided the treating urologist has adequate knowledge of the procedure and the patient receives adequate postoperative education [2]. The major ways to ensure good results are:

  • appropriate patient selection (good renal function, regular follow-up possible);
  • the avoidance of damage to the sphincter apparatus and its innervation (individualized nerve-sparing cystectomy, minimum use of bipolar electrocautery near the pelvic plexus and membranous urethra);
  • the use of ileum instead of colon (better compliance) [3-5];
  • the avoidance of a funnel-shaped outlet that can result in kinking, outlet obstruction, residual infected urine and, in the worst case, lifelong need for clean intermittent catheterization (CIC) (Fig. 1).

By contrast to most other urological procedures, orthotopic bladder substitution requires proactive postoperative management [6] to ensure:

  • residual urine-free spontaneous voiding after catheter removal;
  • sterile urine to improve urinary continence and to reduce mucous production [7];
  • the prevention of salt loss syndrome and metabolic acidosis by increased salt intake and sodium bicarbonate substitution in the early postoperative period to ensure a base excess of +2;
  • a systematic increase in functional capacity by progressively expanding voiding intervals to obtain a reservoir capacity of ∼500 mL and, thus, a low end-fill pressure which ensures urinary continence day and night (the latter combined with the use of an alarm clock).

It is equally important to perform lifelong follow-up of patients and regularly at 6- to 12-month intervals so as to diagnose and treat early secondary complications, such as uretero-intestinal strictures or residual, infected urine. If the latter occurs, any form of outlet obstruction, such as ileal mucosa protruding in front of the bladder outlet, strictures or growth of inadvertently left prostatic tissue, must be looked for and treated. In our own experience, secondary outlet obstruction occurred in ∼20% of patients observed for 10 years. This rather high incidence is typical for intestinal bladder substitutes because when voiding, unlike the genuine bladder, there is no coordinated contraction of the reservoir wall which would result in an elevated voiding pressure which, in turn, would overcome an outlet resistance. Bladder substitutes empty mainly by gravitational force alone. If voiding is only possible by abdominal straining, then something must be wrong; therefore, instead of recommending CIC for patients who build up residual and consecutively infected urine, we strongly favour treating the outlet obstruction, usually on an outpatient basis. The avoidance of the need for CIC through surgical technique (no funnel-shaped outlet) and during regular follow-up by treating any potential cause of residual urine can substantially improve the patient’s quality of life. It also avoids the cost of catheters and the risk of infectious complications. Thanks to this active management and removal of any outlet obstruction, 96% of our patients followed for 10 years were still able to void spontaneously [8].

Urs E. Studer
Department of Urology, University Hospital Bern, Bern, Switzerland

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References

  1. Singh V, Yadav R, Sinha RJ, Gupta DK. Prospective comparison of quality-of-life outcomes between ileal conduit urinary diversion and orthotopic neobladder reconstruction after radical cystectomy: a statistical model. BJU Int 2014; 113: 726–732
  2. Thurairaja R, Burkhard FC, Studer UE. The orthotopic neobladder. BJU Int 2008; 102: 1307–1313
  3. Berglund B, Kock NG, Myrvold HE. Volume capacity and pressure characteristics of the continent cecal reservoir. Surg Gynecol Obstet 1986; 163: 42–48
  4. Schrier BP, Laguna MP, van der Pal F, Isorna S, Witjes JA. Comparison of orthotopic sigmoid and ileal neobladders: continence and urodynamic parameters. Eur Urol 2005; 47: 679–685
  5. Varol C, Studer UE. Managing patients after an ileal orthotopic bladder substitution. BJU Int 2004; 93: 266–270
  6. Zehnder P, Dhar N, Thurairaja R, Ochsner K, Studer UE. Effect of urinary tract infection on reservoir function in patients with ileal bladder substitute. J Urol 2009; 181: 2545–2549
  7. Thurairaja R, Studer UE. How to avoid clean intermittent catheterization in men with ileal bladder substitution. J Urol 2008; 180: 2504–2509

 

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