Cardiopulmonary bypass, hypothermia, temporary cardiac arrest and exsanguination represent the next logical step in the evolutionary management of intracaval neoplastic extension with renal cell carcinoma. This method of management provides control of the circulation of the entire body and allows for careful dissection in a bloodless field with less risk of embolization. From 1981 to 1986, 15 patients were treated with intracaval neoplastic extension of renal cell carcinoma above the level of the most inferior hepatic veins. In 6 patients mobilization of the vena cava with division of the hepatic veins to the caudate lobe allowed excision of the tumor and tumor thrombus without cardiopulmonary bypass (group 1). The remaining 9 patients underwent cardiopulmonary bypass and hypothermia (group 2). There was 1 postoperative mortality in the entire group. Most patients had advanced regional disease but the feasibility of this technique has been demonstrated. Survival appeared to be less in the bypass group. Although some of the patients have had metastatic disease, the quality of life and survival have been prolonged in many of these acutely ill patients.
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