Vol. 42 (6): 1144-1149, November – December, 2016

doi: 10.1590/S1677-5538.IBJU.2015.0588


Safety and efficacy of intravesical alum for intractable hemorrhagic cystitis: A contemporary evaluation

Mary E. Westerman 1, Stephen A. Boorjian 1, Brian J. Linder 1

1 Department of Urology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA


Introduction: Hemorrhagic cystitis (HC) represents a challenging clinical entity. While various intravesical agents have been utilized in this setting, limited data exist regard­ing safety or efficacy. Herein, then, we evaluated the effectiveness and complications associated with intravesical alum instillation for HC in a contemporary cohort.

Materials and Methods: We identified 40 patients treated with intravesical alum for HC between 1997-2014. All patients had failed previous continuous bladder irrigation with normal saline and clot evacuation. Treatment success was defined as requiring no additional therapy beyond normal saline irrigation after alum instillation.

Results: Median patient age was 76.5 years (IQR 69, 83). Pelvic radiation was the most common etiology for HC (n=38, 95%). Alum use decreased patient’s transfusion requirement, with 82% (32/39) receiving a transfusion within 30 days before alum instillation (median 4 units) versus 59% (23/39) within 30 days after completing alum (median 3 units) (p=0.05). In total, 24 patients (60%) required no additional therapy prior to hospital discharge. Moreover, at a median follow-up of 17 months (IQR 5, 38.5), 13 patients (32.5%) remained without additional treatment for HC. Adverse ef­fects were reported in 15 patients (38%), with bladder spasms representing the most common event (14/40; 35%). No clinical evidence of clinically significant systemic absorption was detected.

Conclusion: Intravesical alum therapy is well-tolerated, with resolution of HC in ap­proximately 60% of patients, and a durable response in approximately one-third. Given its favorable safety/efficacy profile, intravesical alum may be considered as a first-line treatment option for patients with HC.

Keywords:  Cystitis; Hematuria; Urinary Bladder; Radiotherapy

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