Background: The optimal preoperative α-blockade strategy is debated for patients undergoing laparoscopic adrenalectomy for pheochromocytomas. We evaluated the impact of selective versus non-selective α-blockade on intraoperative hemodynamics and postoperative outcomes. Methods: We identified patients having laparoscopic adrenalectomy for pheochromocytomas from 2001 to 2015. As a marker of overall intraoperative hemodynamics, we combined systolic blood pressure (SBP) > 200, SBP < 80, SBP < 80 and >200, pulse > 120, vasopressor infusion, and vasodilator infusion into a single variable. Similarly, the combination of vasopressor infusion in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) and the need for intensive care unit (ICU) admission provided an overview of postoperative support. Results: We identified 52 patients undergoing unilateral laparoscopic adrenalectomy for pheochromocytoma. Selective α-blockade (i.e. doxazosin) was performed in 35 % (n = 18) of patients, and non-selective blockade with phenoxybenzamine was performed in 65 % (n = 34) of patients. Demographics and tumor characteristics were similar between groups. Patients blocked selectively were more likely to have an SBP < 80 (67 %) than those blocked with phenoxybenzamine (35 %) (p = 0.03), but we found no significant difference in overall intraoperative hemodynamics between patients blocked selectively and non-selectively (p = 0.09). However, postoperatively, patients blocked selectively were more likely to require additional support with vasopressor infusions in the PACU or ICU admission (p = 0.02). Hospital stay and complication rates were similar. Conclusion: Laparoscopic adrenalectomy for pheochromocytoma is safe regardless of the preoperative α-blockade strategy employed, but patients blocked selectively may have a higher incidence of transient hypotension during surgery and a greater need for postoperative support. These differences did not result in longer hospital stay or increased complications.
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