One-stage primary repair of distal esophageal perforation using fundic wrap

A Safavi, N Wang, A Razzouk, K Gan, C Sciolaro, M Wood, E E Vyhmeister, R Miranda, C Ahn, S R Gundry
American Surgeon 1995, 61 (10): 919-24
Esophageal leak following primary repair of esophageal perforation is a serious complication that can lead to severe mediastinitis and sepsis. Complete diversion with esophageal exclusion or resection is designed to minimize further mediastinal contamination. However, this approach is not necessarily associated with less morbidity or mortality. Furthermore, a second stage operation is required to restore esophageal continuity. From 1986 to 1994, we performed a one-stage primary repair of the distal esophagus in seven patients with either iatrogenic (n = 5) or spontaneous (n = 2) perforations and reinforced the repair by a fundic wrap. One patient underwent an additional modified Heller myotomy for achalasia. Delay between perforation and operation was less than 6 hours in 3 patients, 6 to 24 hours in 2 patients, and greater than 24 hours in 2 patients. Only one patient (14%) developed a small esophageal leak that spontaneously resolved with adequate mediastinal drainage, intravenous antibiotics, and aggressive nutritional support. One patient (14%), whose repair was delayed by 12 hours, died postoperatively of profound sepsis. This patient was moribund from sepsis preoperatively, and postmortem examination of the esophagus revealed no evidence of esophageal leak. Esophageal continuity was maintained in all patients. The median length of stay was 21 days (range, 15-58 days). We conclude that primary reinforced repair of esophageal perforation using a fundic wrap is an effective method of treatment for distal esophageal perforation, even when the repair is delayed by more than 24 hours.

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