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Int J Clin Exp Med. 2013 Sep 1;6(8):716-9. eCollection 2013.

Combined general and regional anesthesia and effects on immune function in patients with benign ovarian tumors treated by laparoscopic therapy.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Third Hospital of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army Baoji 721004, Shanxi Province, China.



Anesthesia has been shown to suppress immune function, which can negatively affect the treatment of patients with various tumors. Here, we assessed two different anesthesia methods, general versus combined regional/general, in treatment of benign ovarian tumor by laparoscopic therapy.


Out of 160 patients with benign ovarian tumors treated by laparoscopic therapy, 80 received general anesthesia combined with thoracic epidural anesthesia during surgery, and 80 received general anesthesia only. Venous blood samples were obtained at the following time points: before induction of anesthesia (T0), 2 hours after anesthesia, during operation, 3 days (d) after operation, 5 d after operation, and 7 d after operation. Percentages of CD3(+), CD4(+), and CD4(+)/CD8(+) T lymphocytes were determined at these time points by flow cytometry to assess immune function.


For both groups, percentages of CD3(+), CD4(+), and CD4(+)/CD8(+) T cells decreased significantly from T0 to 2 hr after anesthesia (P < 0.05). These percentages decreased again during surgery. However, T cell percentages in patients receiving combined anesthesia returned to normal levels 5 d after surgery, and those receiving only intravenous anesthesia returned to normal by 7 d after surgery. There were no significant differences in CD3(+), CD4(+), or CD4(+)/CD8(+) T cell percentages between the two anesthesia groups at T0 and 7 d. However, significant differences in these percentages were observed between the two groups at all other time points. Interestingly, the decrease observed within the combined group were less dramatic than those observed within the intravenous-only group (P < 0.05).


These findings indicate that, while any anesthesia may suppress immune function of patients treated by laparoscopic therapy, the effect of general anesthesia combined with thoracic epidural anesthesia on immune function was less than that produced by general anesthesia alone.


Epidural anesthesia; general anesthesia; immune function; laparoscopy; ovarian tumor

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