Background: Hemorrhagic radiation cystitis (HRC) is a significant clinical problem that occurs after pelvic radiation therapy and is often refractory.
Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) for HRC.
Methods: Daily 90 minute sessions of HBO at 2 ATM 100% oxygen were given to 32 HRC patients with ASTRO grades 3-4 hematuria.
Results: The median age was 72.5 (48-88 years). The median time interval between radiation therapy and HBO was 4 years (1-26 years). The patients received a median of 30 HBO sessions (3-53). Hematuria resolved in 27 patients (84%) and persisted in 5. Cystectomy was required in two, and ileal-conduit and bilateral percutaneous nephrostomies were performed in one and two patients, respectively. With a median follow-up of 12 months (5-74 months), the hematuria cleared completely in 16 patients (59%) and mild hematuria requiring no further treatment recurred in 10 others. Another patient with ASTRO grade 4 hematuria needed bladder irrigation and blood transfusions. Complications included eardrum perforation in four patients and transient vertigo and mild hemoptysis in one case each. None of them required HBO discontinuation.
Conclusions: HBO controlled bleeding in 84% of the patients. A durable freedom from significant hematuria was achieved in 96% of the patients. HBO seems to be an effective and safe modality in patients with HRC.