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Surgical Treatment of Cancer of the Thoracic Esophagus in Association With a Major Pulmonary Operation

Journal of the American College of Surgeons
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s1072-7515(97)00102-6
  • Medicine


Abstract Background: Pulmonary complications have been a major cause of mortality after operations for cancer of the thoracic esophagus. Although the risk involved in esophagectomy associated with a major pulmonary operation is expected to be high, it has seldom been evaluated on the basis of clinical experience. Study Design: Of 408 patients who underwent esophagectomy, 8 had previously undergone major pulmonary operation (7 for tuberculosis and 1 for pulmonary cancer) and 10 underwent concurrent major pulmonary resection (7 for pulmonary invasion of esophageal cancer, 2 for synchronous pulmonary cancer, 1 for extensive bronchiectasia). All patients underwent systematic lymph node dissection for esophageal cancer, except one patient with mucosal cancer. To prevent postoperative complications, the operative approach and dissection procedures for esophageal cancer were modified according to the associated pulmonary operation and the extent of cancer invasion. All thoracotomies for esophagectomy were performed on the same side as the major pulmonary operation. Additional median sternotomy was performed when necessary. In the most recent 8 patients who underwent major pulmonary resection concurrent with esophagectomy, the bronchial stump was covered with a pedicle flap. Results: Of the 18 patients who underwent pulmonary operation, postoperative complications developed in 13 of the 18 object patients, but none was fatal. The 3-year survival rate was 45%. All deaths were caused by esophageal cancer or another cancer. Conclusions: Aggressive esophagectomy associated with major pulmonary operation is not contraindicated in patients with fair risk conditions. The operative procedures for esophagectomy should be appropriately modified to minimize the effect of the associated pulmonary operation. Special care should be taken with respect to the approach for mediastinal dissection and closure of the bronchial stump.

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