Endoscopic vacuum-assisted closure of upper intestinal anastomotic leaks

Jochen Wedemeyer, Andrea Schneider, Michael P Manns, Steffan Jackobs
Gastrointestinal Endoscopy 2008, 67 (4): 708-11

BACKGROUND: Management of intrathoracic anastomotic leaks remains an interdisciplinary challenge. Established treatment options include percutaneous drainage, endoscopic closure, or even surgical revision. All these procedures are associated with high morbidity and mortality rates.

OBJECTIVE: We report a new, effective endoscopic treatment option for intrathoracic esophageal anastomotic leaks by using an endoscopic vacuum-assisted closure system.

PATIENTS: Two patients with intrathoracic anastomotic leaks after esophagectomy and gastrectomy were included.

METHODS: Surgical reinterventions failed to seal the leaks in 1 patient, whereas in the other patient the anastomotic leakage persisted after endoscopic placement of 2 covered self-expanding metal stents. We endoscopically placed transnasal draining tubes that were armed with a size-adjusted sponge at their distal tip in the necrotic anastomotic cavities. Continuous suction was applied. Sponge and drain were changed twice a week.

RESULTS: No complications were noted during the course of treatment. After a median of 15 days, closure of the wound cavities was achieved in all cases. A median of 5 endoscopic interventions was necessary. Both patients returned gradually to a solid diet without recurrence of the leaks.

CONCLUSION: Endoscopic vacuum-assisted closure might be an effective alternative in the treatment of upper intestinal anastomotic leaks.

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