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Alvimopan provides rapid gastrointestinal recovery without nasogastric tube decompression after radical cystectomy and urinary diversion
Department of Urology, Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC, USA
Jun  2012 (Vol.  19, Issue  3, Pages( 6293 - 6298)
PMID: 22704317


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    Radical cystectomy is associated with significant morbidity, with rates of gastrointestinal complications as high as 30%. Alvimopan is a mu opioid receptor antagonist that has been shown in randomized control trials to accelerate gastrointestinal recovery in patients undergoing bowel resection with primary anastamosis. We report our experience with gastrointestinal recovery for patients undergoing cystectomy with urinary diversion treated with alvimopan.


    Between January 2008 and August 2011, 50 consecutive patients underwent radical cystectomy with urinary diversion at our institution. The first 27 patients in our study did not receive alvimopan preoperatively. The latter 23 patients received perioperative alvimopan and were without postoperative nasogastric decompression. Return of bowel function, initiation of diet, and gastrointestinal complications were evaluated.


    Times to first flatus (3.1 versus 5.6 days, p < 0.001, 95% CI 1.66-3.26) and bowel movement (3.8 versus 6.0 days, p < 0.001, 95% CI 1.35-2.99) were significantly shorter in those patients who received alvimopan. Additionally, the initiation of clear liquid diet (4.1 versus 6.3 days, p < 0.001, 95% CI 1.20-3.12), regular diet (5.7 versus 7.3 days, p = 0.023, 95% CI 0.57-2.63) and hospital discharge (7.4 versus 9.5 days, p = 0.04, 95% CI 0.03-4.21) were accelerated in the alvimopan cohort. There were no incidences of prolonged ileus in patients who received perioperative alvimopan (0% versus 25.9%, p = 0.012).


    In our experience, the use of alvimopan perioperatively significantly accelerates the rate of gastrointestinal recovery and hospital discharge, eliminates the need for nasogastric tube decompression, and reduces the incidence of postoperative ileus in patients following radical cystectomy and urinary diversion.