Table of Contents
ISRN Anesthesiology
Volume 2012, Article ID 918938, 11 pages
Review Article

Blood Loss and Massive Transfusion in Patients Undergoing Major Oncological Surgery: What Do We Know?

Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1400 Holcombe Boulevard, Unit 409, Houston, TX 77030, USA

Received 5 February 2012; Accepted 4 March 2012

Academic Editors: C. Motamed, D. E. Selander, S. J. Verbrugge, and C.-T. Wu

Copyright © 2012 Juan P. Cata and Vijaya Gottumukkala. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Patients with solid malignancies who were not candidates for tumor resections in the past are now presenting for extensive oncological resections. Cancer patients are at risk for thromboembolic complications due to an underlying hypercoagulable state; however, some patients may have an increased risk for bleeding due to the effects of chemotherapy, the administration of anticoagulant drugs, tumor-related fibrinolysis, tumor location, tumor vascularity, and extent of disease. A common potential complication of all complex oncological surgeries is massive intra- and postoperative hemorrhage and the subsequent risk for massive blood transfusion. This can be anticipated or unexpected. Several surgical and anesthesia interventions including preoperative tumor embolization, major vessel occlusion, hemodynamic manipulation, and perioperative antifibrinolytic therapy have been used to prevent or control blood loss with varying success. The exact incidence of massive blood transfusion in oncological surgery is largely unknown and/or underreported. The current literature mostly consists of purely descriptive observational studies. Thus, recommendation regarding specific perioperative intervention cannot be made at this point, and more research is warranted.