Management and outcome of cervical versus intrathoracic manifestation of cervical anastomotic leakage after transthoracic esophagectomy for cancer

Peter S. N. van Rossum, Leonie Haverkamp, Michele Carvello, Jelle P. Ruurda, Richard van Hillegersberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate management strategies and related outcomes for cervical versus intrathoracic manifestation of cervical anastomotic leakage after transthoracic esophagectomy for cancer with gastric conduit reconstruction. Patients with esophageal cancer undergoing transthoracic esophagectomy with cervical anastomosis from October 2003 to December 2014 were identified from a prospectively acquired database. Management strategies and related outcomes among patients with anastomotic leakage confined to the neck were compared to patients with intrathoracic manifestation of anastomotic leakage. From a total of 286 patients, leakage of the cervical anastomosis occurred in 60 patients (21%) at a median time of 7 days after esophagectomy. Leakage was confined to the neck in 23 of 60 patients (38%), whereas 37 of 60 patients (62%) presented with intrathoracic spread. Leakages with intrathoracic manifestation were more frequently accompanied by a positive SIRS score compared to leakages confined to the neck (73% vs. 35%, respectively; P = 0.004). Drainage of the anastomotic leakage through the neck wound was effective in all of 23 patients (100%) with cervical manifestation. In patients with intrathoracic manifestation, mediastinal drainage through the neck was successful in 15 of 37 patients (41%), whereas 22 patients (59%) required an intervention through the thoracic cavity. Compared to patients with leakage confined to the neck, patients with intrathoracic manifestation showed prolonged intensive care unit (ICU) stay (median 6 vs. 2 days, respectively; P = 0.001), hospital stay (median 34 vs. 19 days, respectively; P < 0.001), and time to oral intake (32 vs. 23 days, respectively; P = 0.018). Intrathoracic manifestation of cervical anastomotic leakage occurs in more than half of patients with anastomotic leakage after transthoracic esophagectomy for cancer. A SIRS reaction should raise the suspicion of intrathoracic spread of leakage. Intrathoracic manifestation can be managed effectively by mediastinal drainage through the neck in 41% of patients, but a reintervention through the thoracic cavity is required in 59%. Intrathoracic manifestation of leakage results in prolonged ICU/hospital stay and delays time to oral intake compared with leakage confined to the neck.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalDiseases of the Esophagus
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

Keywords

  • anastomotic leakage
  • complications
  • esophageal cancer surgery

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