Gastrointest Endosc 2005 Jun;61(7):891-6
Department of General, Visceral and Vascular Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany.
Background: Surgery, as well as conservative treatment, in patients with clinically apparent intrathoracic esophageal anastomotic leaks often is associated with poor results and carries a high morbidity and mortality. The successful treatment of esophageal anastomotic insufficiencies and perforations when using covered, self-expanding metallic stents is described.
Methods: The feasibility and the outcome of endoscopic treatment of intrathoracic anastomotic leakages when using silicone-covered self-expanding polyester stents were investigated. Twelve consecutive patients presented with clinically apparent intrathoracic esophageal anastomotic leak caused by resection of an epiphrenic diverticulum (n = 1), esophagectomy for esophageal cancer (n = 9), or gastrectomy for gastric cancer (n = 2), were endoscopically treated in our department. The extent of the dehiscences ranged from about 20% to 70% of the anastomotic circumference. After endoscopic lavage and debridement of the leakage at 2-day intervals (mean duration, 8.6 days), a large-diameter polyester stent (Polyflex; proximal/distal diameters 25/21 mm) was placed to seal the leakage. Simultaneously, the periesophageal mediastinum was drained by chest drains.
Observations: All 12 patients were successfully treated endoscopically without the need for reoperation. A complete closure of the leakage was obtained in 11 of 12 patients after stent removal (median time to stent retrieval, 4 weeks, range 2-8 weeks). In one patient, a persistent leak was sealed endoscopically after stent removal by using 3 clips. Distal stent migration was obtained in two patients.
Conclusions: The placement of silicone-covered self-expanding polyester stents seems to be a successful minimally invasive treatment option for clinically apparent intrathoracic esophageal anastomotic leaks.