Routine ureteroscopy (URS) for stone disease is performed under a general anaesthesia. However, controversy exists on the role of loco-regional anaesthesia and the outcomes associated with it. Here we review the challenges, outcomes and complications of loco-regional anaesthesia for URS. A Cochrane style review was performed in accordance with the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses guidelines to evaluate the outcomes of loco-reginal anaesthesia for URS in stone disease, including all English language articles from January 1980 and December 2019.
Twenty-one studies (1843 procedures) with a mean age of 46 years and a male : female ratio of 1.2 : 1 underwent URS under loco-regional anaesthesia. The mean stone size was 9 mm (range:4-21 mm) and except five papers, all other papers included stones in the ureter of which the majority were in the distal ureter. The conversion to general anaesthesia was needed in 2.7% patients (range 1-21%) across studies, with a stone free rate of 48-100%. The complication rate varied from 1.4 to 36%. Although the intraoperative complications included ureteric injury (n = 21) or perforation (n = 4), the postoperative complications included fever (n = 37), urinary tract infection (n = 20), haematuria (n = 4), urosepsis (n = 4) and others (n = 7).
The present systematic review shows that local anaesthetic URS is a potential alternative to general anaesthetic URS in carefully selected patients. Randomised controlled trials with subgroup analysis are required to further assess whether loco-regional anaesthesia URS is noninferior to general anaesthesia URS and might help determine if the former approach should become more widespread.
Current opinion in urology. 2020 Jul 09 [Epub ahead of print]
Matthew Schembri, Vineet Agarwal, Amelia Pietropaolo, Bhaskar Somani
University Hospital Southampton, Southampton, UK., The Guthrie Clinic, Sayre, Pennsylvania, USA.