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Asian J Surg. 2002 Jul;25(3):232-5.

Intravesicle formalin instillation with a modified technique for controlling haemorrhage secondary to radiation cystitis.

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  • 1Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, Chiangmai University, Chiangmai, Thailand. blojanap@sd01.med.cmu.ac.th



Intractable haemorrhage, secondary to radiation cystitis, is a serious complication of radiotherapy for pelvic malignancies. Formalin instillation is often effective for intractable haemorrhage unresponsive to other agents, but carries the risk of significant morbidity. The placement of formalin-soaked pledgets is a modified technique for the treatment of this complication. We compare the effectiveness and complications of both techniques.


Eleven patients with intractable haemorrhage secondary to radiation cystitis were treated by intravesicle 4% formalin instillation [Group I] and eight were treated by the endoscopic placement of 10% formalin-soaked pledgets on the bleeding points for 15 minutes [Group II].


Cessation of bleeding was 9 of 11 [82%] and 6 of 8 [75%] in Group I and Group II, respectively. One patient in Group II required two treatments, due to recurrent haemorrhage. Four major and several minor complications were found in Group I, and only three minor complications were found in Group II.


Formalin instillation is effective in controlling severe bladder haemorrhage after radiation of the pelvis, but the complications secondary to the fixative properties are severe. Topical application of formalin-soaked pledgets is as effective in controlling the haemorrhage as conventional intravesicle formalin instillation, with fewer complications. This technique should be the initial treatment for this complication.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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