Transurethral resection of the prostate in the anticoagulated patient

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To assess the safety of transurethral prostatectomy (TURP) in patients on long-term full anticoagulation.

Patients and methods

Twelve TURPs were performed on 11 patients with urinary retention or severe symptoms from prostatic obstruction who also required anticoagulation for a history of life-threatening thromboembolic disease (seven) or prosthetic heart valves (four). Patients stopped taking warfarin 3 days before surgery; on admission a day later, full intravenous heparinization was commenced. Heparin was stopped 4 h before TURP and re-commenced with an initial bolus in the recovery room, and warfarin re-started that evening.


The mean weight of prostate resected was 23 g and the mean peri-operative decrease in haemoglobin was 1.6 g/dL. Only one patient required a transfusion of 3 units, but the activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) had risen to>4. The mean pre- and post-operative APTT were 1.7 and 2.64, respectively, and the mean total length of hospital stay 6.7 days. Three patients were re-admitted for secondary haemorrhage at 8, 9 and 28 days after TURP, but all resolved with catheterization for 24h only. There were no other major complications or thrombo-embolic phenomena.


TURP can be conducted safely in this high-risk group of patients with a regimen that allows a brief but controlled interruption to their full anticoagulation. This protects from the risks of thrombo-embolic incidents with no major increase in haemorrhage or hospital stay.

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