The role of multidisciplinary team and stepwise pelvic devascularization to minimize blood loss during total pelvic exenteration for patients refusing blood transfusion.
Le Thanh V., Bell R., Symons N., Soleymani Majd H.
KEY CLINICAL MESSAGE: Radical gynecology oncology surgeries are feasible in patients refusing blood transfusion, when performed with careful preoperative (with hemoglobin optimization and patients' counseling), intraoperative (with hemostasis and stepwise devascularization, hemodilution, and autologous cell salvage) and postoperative (considering iron infusion or erythropoietin) planning with a multidisciplinary team involvement. ABSTRACT: We describe the case of a female Jehovah's Witness patient in her 60s undergoing pelvic exenteration, focusing on the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative measures that allowed an uncomplicated surgery without blood transfusion. Blood transfusions are common in the surgical management of gynecology oncology patients, up to 93% of patients undergoing pelvic exenteration may require blood products. However, increasingly more patients are cautious in receiving blood products, either for fear of potential risks or for religious believes. It is therefore vital to optimize the management of these patients in order to avoid blood transfusions. In this case, we summarize the management of a lady in her 60s who underwent laparotomy, pelvic exenteration, Bricker colicureterostomy, and end colostomy formation for recurrent endometrial carcinoma, despite previous total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy followed by brachytherapy, chemotherapy, and external beam radiotherapy for high-grade serous carcinoma. Preoperatively, an advance decision to refuse blood products was discussed to ascertain all the options that were suitable. As her preoperative hemoglobin was acceptable (127 g/L), no further intervention was required. Intraoperatively, blood loss was effectively minimized with meticulous hemostasis, stepwise pelvic devascularization, intraoperative hemodilution, and cell salvage. Despite these interventions, total blood loss was 1030 mL and postoperative hemoglobin was 113 g/L. Postoperative measures therefore included intravenous iron infusion, minimization of phlebotomy, and optimization of cardiopulmonary status. Erythropoietin was also considered, but was not necessary as patient responded to the previous measures well and was successfully discharged after an uncomplicated recovery. Only few cases of total pelvic exenteration have been described in the literature for Jehovah's Witness patients. However, our case shows that laparotomy and pelvic exenteration is feasible in patients refusing blood products, if performed under a multidisciplinary team and with careful preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative planning, also in the setting of previous radical hysterectomy and co-adjuvant therapy.