JOURNAL ARTICLE
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[Evaluating prophylactic ligation of thoracic duct during radical resection of esophageal carcinoma].

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE: Prophylactic ligation of thoracic duct during the radical resection of esophageal carcinoma is usually used to prevent and treat chylothorax, but there is dispute about the effect. Its correlation to other complications and prognosis of esophageal carcinoma patients after operation has seldom been reported. The study was to evaluate its preventive effect on chylothorax and its influences on other complications and prognosis of esophageal carcinoma patients.

METHODS: Clinical data from 389 patients who underwent radical transthoracic esophagectomy from Jun. 1991 to Jun. 1996 in Cancer Center of Sun Yat-sen University were retrospectively analyzed. Of the 389 patients, 171 received thoracic duct ligation (ligation group), and 218 had thoracic duct preserved (preservation group). The occurrence rates of chylothorax and other complications, and the survival rates were compared between the 2 groups.

RESULTS: The occurrence rates of chylothorax were 1.17% in ligation group and 0.46% in preservation group (P<0.001). The occurrence rates of complication were 18.2% in ligation group and 11.5% in preservation group (P=0.063). Perioperative mortalities were 1.75% in ligation group and 0.92% in preservation group (P=0.658). The 1-, 2-, 3-, and 5-year survival rates were 74.3%, 52.1%, 42.1%, and 29.2% in ligation group, and 74.3%, 53.2%, 43.1%, and 29.8% in preservation group (P=0.992, 0.819, 0.841, 0.902).

CONCLUSION: Prophylactic ligation of thoracic duct during esophagectomy for patients with esophageal carcinoma could not prevent chylothorax effectively, and has no obvious influence on the occurrence of other complications and survival of the patients after operation.

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