Canadian Anaesthetists’ Society Journal

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 449–452 | Cite as

Bleomycin and subsequent anaesthesia: A retrospective study at Vancouver General Hospital

  • M. J. Douglas
  • C. M. L. Coppin


A retrospective review was made of 20 surgical procedures in 14 patients with testicular carcinoma, previously treated with bleomycin chemotherapy, to evaluate the incidence of postoperative pulmonary complications. Other studies have suggested an increased rate of pulmonary complications, including fatal respiratory failure, when inspired oxygen fraction (Fio2) exceeds 0.3 during or after operation. There is a suggestion that bleomycin may sensitize the lungs to the effect of oxygen, leading to oxygen toxicity. This study involved patients whose inspired oxygen fraction ranged from 0.3 to 1.0 and only one non-fatal pulmonary complication occurred. The risks of anaesthesia following bleomycin are discussed with particular reference to possible enhanced oxygen toxicity.


Bleomycin Pulmonary Complication Inspire Oxygen Fraction Postoperative Pulmonary Complication Inspire Oxygen Concentration 


On a revu les dossiers de 14 patients attests de néoplasie testiculaire dans le but d’établir l’incidence des complications post-opératoires survenues à la suite de 20 procédures chirugicales. Tous ces malades avaient été traités au préalable à la bléomycine. Des études antérieures ont suggéré une incidence augmentéee de complications post-opératoires, parfois même fatales, lorsque la Fi02 pre et post-opératoire dépassait 0.3 chez des patients traités à la bléomycine. Cet agent sensibiliserait le poumon à l’oxygéne, faisant apparaître des signes de toxicité à cet agent. Les patients de notre série ont recu de l’oxygéne é des Fi02 variant de 0.3 à 1.0 et on n’a relevé qu’une seule complication pulmonaire non fatale. On discute des risques anesthésiques des malades traités à la bléomycine, surtout en rapport avec la possibilitée d’une susceptibilité augmentée à l’oxygéne.


  1. 1.
    Goldiner, P.L. & Schweizer, O. The hazards of anesthesia and surgery in bleomycin-treated patients. Seminars in Oncology Vol. 6, No. 1 (March), 121–124(1979).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Anderson, R. Testicular germ-cell neoplasms: Recent advances in diagnosis and therapy. Ann. Int. Med.90:373–385(1979).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Comis, R.L. Bleomycin pulmonary toxicity, in Carter, S.K., Crooke, S.T., Umezawa, H. (Ed.). Bleomycin: Current Status and New Developments, New York, Academic Press Inc.. pp. 279–291(1978).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    NyGaard, K., Smith-Erichson, N., Hatle-voll, R.,et al. Pulmonary complications after bleomycin, irradiation and surgery for esophageal cancer. Cancer41: 17–22(1978).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Goldiner, P.L. Carlon, G.D., Cvitkovic, E., Schweizer, O. & Howland, W.S. Factors influencing postoperative morbidity and mortality in patients treated with bleomycin. B.M.J., 1664–1667(1978).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Canadian Anesthesiologists 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. Douglas
    • 1
  • C. M. L. Coppin
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnaesthesiaVancouver General HospitalVancouver
  2. 2.Department of MedicineVancouver General Hospital, and Staff Physician, Division of Medical Oncology, Cancer Control Agency of British ColumbiaVancouver

Personalised recommendations