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01.09.2009 | Ausgabe 9/2009

Surgical Endoscopy 9/2009

Classification and early recognition of gastric conduit failure after minimally invasive esophagectomy

Surgical Endoscopy > Ausgabe 9/2009
Darmarajah Veeramootoo, Rajeev Parameswaran, Rakesh Krishnadas, Peter Froeschle, Martin Cooper, Richard G. Berrisford, Shahjehan A. Wajed
Wichtige Hinweise
Presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (ALSGBI), Leeds, November 2006, and the Annual Meeting of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (ASGBI), Manchester, April 2007.



Esophagectomy is a high-risk procedure, with significant morbidity resulting from gastric conduit failure. Early recognition and management of these complications is essential. This study aimed to investigate the clinical value of routine investigations after minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIO) and to propose a classification system for gastric conduit failure.


For esophagogastric resection, MIO is the procedure of choice in the authors’ unit. Standard postoperative care similar to that for open esophagectomy is undertaken on a specialist ward. Routine investigations include daily assessment of C-reactive protein (CRP), white cell count (WCC), and a contrast swallow on postoperative day (POD) 5. The authors performed a retrospective analysis to assess the utility of these tests.


Of a prospective cohort of 50 patients from April 2004 to July 2006, 26 (52%) had an uneventful recovery (U), 24 (48%) experienced complications (C) of varying nature and severity, and 1 died (2%). All the patients demonstrated a transient abnormal rise in CRP until POD 3. In group U, the levels then fell, but in group C, they remained elevated (POD 5: U = 96, C = 180; p < 0.01). This discrepancy trend was further exaggerated in the nine patients with gastric conduit failure (POD 5: GC = 254; p < 0.01), whereas contrast swallow failed to identify this complication in six patients. Simple anastomotic leaks (type 1, n = 4) were managed conservatively. Patients with conduit tip necrosis (type 2, n = 3) and complete conduit ischemia (type 2, n = 2) were managed by repeat thoracotomy and either refashioning of the conduit or take-down and cervical esophagostomy. None of the patients with conduit failure died.


Postoperative CRP monitoring is a highly effective, simple method for the early recognition of gastric conduit failure. This new system of classification provides a successful guide to conservative management or revisional surgery.

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