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Aims: To investigate whether spinal anesthesia with an obturator nerve block (SA+ONB) can be effectively used for transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT) during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic to improve patient outcomes while also avoiding aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs). We aimed to compare outcomes of TURBTs using spinal anesthesia (SA) alone vs SA+ONB in terms of rates of obturator reflex, bladder perforation, incomplete tumor resection, tumor recurrence, and local anesthetic toxicity. Methods: We conducted a comprehensive search of electronic databases (MEDLINE, PUBMED, EMBASE, CINAHL, CENTRAL, SCOPUS, Google Scholar, and Web of Science), identifying studies comparing the outcomes of TURBT using SA vs spinal with an ONB. The Cochrane risk-of-bias tool for randomized-controlled trials (RCTs) and the Newcastle-Ottawa scale for observational studies were used to assess the included studies. Random effects modeling was used to calculate pooled outcome data. Results: Four RCTs and three cohort studies were identified, enrolling a total of 448 patients. The use of SA+ONB was associated with a significantly reduced risk of obturator reflex (p < 0.00001), bladder perforation (p = 0.02), incomplete resection (p < 0.0001), and 12-month tumor recurrence (p = 0.005). ONB was not associated with an increased risk of local anesthetic toxicity (0/159). Conclusion: Our meta-analysis suggests that TURBT using SA+ONB is superior to the use of SA alone. During the COVID-19 pandemic, where avoidance of AGPs such as a general anesthesia is paramount, the use of an ONB with SA is essential for the safety of both patients and staff without compromising care. Further high-quality RCTs with adequate sample sizes are required to compare the different techniques of ONB as well as comparing this method with general anesthesia with complete neuromuscular blockade.


Anil Krishan, Angus Bruce, Shehab Khashaba, Mohamed Abouelela, Syed Ali Ehsanullah. Safety and Efficacy of Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumor Comparing Spinal Anesthesia with Spinal Anesthesia with an Obturator Nerve Block: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Journal of endourology. 2021 Mar;35(3):249-258

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PMID: 33218270

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