Open Access Research article

Transurethral resection syndrome in elderly patients: a retrospective observational study

Junko Nakahira*, Toshiyuki Sawai, Atsushi Fujiwara and Toshiaki Minami

Author Affiliations

Department of Anesthesiology, Osaka Medical College, 2-7 Daigaku-machi, Takatsuki, Osaka, Japan

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BMC Anesthesiology 2014, 14:30  doi:10.1186/1471-2253-14-30

Published: 23 April 2014



Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) involves the risk of transurethral resection (TUR) syndrome owing to hyponatremia. Irrigation fluid type, duration of operation, and weight of resected mass have been evaluated as risk factors for TUR syndrome. The purpose of the present study was to identify risk factors related to TUR syndrome in the elderly.


After obtaining approval from the Institutional Review Board, data on all elderly males (aged 70 years and older) who underwent TURP under regional anesthesia over a 6-year period at our institution were retrospectively reviewed.

TUR syndrome was defined as evidence of a central nervous system disturbance such as nausea, vomiting, restlessness, confusion, or even coma with a circulatory abnormality both intra- and post-operatively. Patients were divided into two groups, positive and negative, for the occurrence of the syndrome. Data such as previous medical history, preoperative and postoperative serum data, weight of resected mass, duration of operation, irrigation fluid drainage technique, anesthetic technique, operative infusion and transfusion volume, and neurological symptoms were collected. Only observational variables with p < 0.05 on univariate analyses were included in the multivariate logistic regression model to ascertain their independent effects on TUR syndrome.


Of the 98 patients studied, 23 had TUR syndrome (23.5%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 14.9–32.0%). Multivariate regression analysis revealed that volume of plasma substitute ≥ 500 ml (odds ratio [OR] 14.7, 95% CI 2.9–74.5), continuous irrigation through a suprapubic cystostomy (OR 4.7, 95% CI 1.3–16.7), and weight of resected mass > 45 g (OR 4.1, 95% CI 1.2–14.7) were associated with significantly increased risks for TUR syndrome (Hosmer-Lemeshow test, p = 0.94, accuracy 84.7%).


These results suggest that the use of a plasma substitute and continuous irrigation through a suprapubic cystostomy must be avoided during TURP procedures in the elderly.

TUR syndrome; Hyponatremia; Transurethral resection of prostate; Irrigation fluid