Five year review of open radical nephrectomies at a regional hospital in South Africa: room for improvement: Research Article published in S Afr J Surg.

Singh A, Urry RJ, Hardcastle TC. Five year review of open radical nephrectomies at a regional hospital in South Africa: room for improvement. S Afr J Surg. 2018 Mar;56(1):35-39.


Background: To review the presentation and outcomes of patients undergoing open radical nephrectomy (ORN) for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) at a regional hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Method: A retrospective chart review was performed of patients having undergone nephrectomy at St Aidan’s hospital between 2010 and 2015, focusing on those with RCC. Demographic, operative, histopathology and outcomes data were collected.

Results: Fifty-two patients (51%) had ORN for suspected malignant disease. Forty-one RCCs were found including one incidental finding at simple nephrectomy. Data was insufficient to assess risk factors for RCC. HIV positive patients tended to present earlier (45 vs. 53 years). The mean tumour size was 10 cm and organ confined disease was present in 73.2% of patients. Only 11 patients (26.8%) had pT1 disease. The high-grade complication rate was 9.8%, in-hospital mortality rate 4.9% and transfusion rate 51.2%. The median operating time was 1h 50min and length of hospital stay 13 days.

Conclusion: Open radical nephrectomy is the standard surgical treatment for RCC at regional level in South Africa. Patients tend to present at a younger age, particularly if HIV positive, and with large tumours. Further research into risk factors for RCC in the South African population is needed. There are high complication and transfusion rates in patients undergoing ORN. Review of accessibility of blood at St Aidan’s hospital and revision of the transfusion protocol is suggested. A followup study to assess the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of laparoscopic nephrectomy in the resource-constrained South African environment is necessary.