Transurethral prostatectomy (removal of the prostate)in older men could cause major changes in the cardiovascular system, possibly bringing on a heart attack.
A study at the Departments of Urology in Middlesex Hospital in London of 33 men undergoing the procedure, the treatment of choice for relieving obstruction of the bladder outflow due to enlarged prostate, discovered important "haemodynamic disturbances" during the operation. These included a reduction by half in cardiac output and also rapid central cooling, both of which could bring on cardiac arrest for an estimated 2.5 per cent of patients. The risk is thought to have something to do with the irrigation fluidsused in the bladder during the operation.
"This study raised serious questions regarding the safety and efficacy of transurethral prostatectomy, demanding reappraisal of every aspect of this technique," wrote the researchers.
They recommended that elderly men avoid undergoing this type of surgery.