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25.03.2020 Open Access

Safety and feasibility of minimally invasive surgical interventions for esophageal and gastric cancer in the acute setting: a nationwide cohort study

Surgical Endoscopy
Alicia S. Borggreve, B. Feike Kingma, Jelle P. Ruurda, Richard van Hillegersberg, the Dutch Upper G.I. Cancer Audit (DUCA) group
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Minimally invasive esophagectomy and gastrectomy are increasingly performed and might be superior to their open equivalents in an elective setting. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether minimally invasive approaches can be safely applied in the acute setting as well.


All patients who underwent an acute surgical intervention for primary esophageal or gastric cancer between 2011 and 2017 were identified from the nationwide database of the Dutch Upper GI Cancer Audit (DUCA). Conversion rates, postoperative complications, re-interventions, postoperative mortality, hospital stay and oncological outcomes (radical resection rates and median lymph node yield) were evaluated.


Between 2011 and 2017, surgery for esophagogastric cancer was performed in an acute setting in 2% (190/8861) in The Netherlands. A total of 14 acute resections for esophageal cancer were performed, which included 7 minimally invasive esophagectomies and 7 open esophagectomies. As these numbers were very low, no comparison between minimally invasive and open esophagectomies was made. A total of 122 acute resections for gastric cancer were performed, which included 39 minimally invasive gastrectomies and 83 open gastrectomies. Conversion occurred in 9 patients (23%). Minimally invasive gastrectomy was at least comparable to open gastrectomy regarding postoperative complications (36% versus 51%), median hospital stay (9 days [IQR: 7–16 days] versus 11 days [IQR: 7–17 days]), readmissions (8% versus 11%) and oncological outcomes (radical resection rate: 87% versus 66%, median lymph node yield: 21 [IQR: 15–32 days] versus 16 [IQR: 11–24 days]).


Minimally invasive surgery for gastric cancer is safe and feasible in the acute setting, with at least comparable postoperative clinical and short-term oncological outcomes compared to open surgery but a relatively high conversion rate.

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