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Ann Thorac Surg. 2006 Mar;81(3):1083-9.

Risk analysis in resection of thoracic esophageal cancer in the era of endoscopic surgery.

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  • 1Department of Surgery II, Fukuoka University School of Medicine, Fukuoka, Japan. tshiraishi-ths@umin.ac.jp



Surgical outcomes after thoracoscopic esophagectomy were compared with those after open esophagectomy, and the prognostic values of factors potentially related to mortality and morbidity were evaluated.


We performed a retrospective chart review of 153 patients who underwent esophagectomy for thoracic esophageal cancer. The thoracic surgical procedures were categorized into the following three groups: esophagectomy under standard thoracotomy (n = 37), assisted thoracoscopic esophagectomy with utility minithoracotomy (n = 38), and complete thoracoscopic esophagectomy (n = 78). Mortality and morbidity were compared among the three groups. Then, in a separate multivariate analysis, data on 14 potentially prognostic variables were extracted, and the relation to postoperative outcomes was examined.


Respiratory complications were the most frequent complications in all three groups, and their rate of occurrence was not significantly among the three groups. The 30-day and in-hospital mortality rates were significantly higher in the open group than in the other groups. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that patient age, sex, induction chemoradiation, and forced expiratory volume were independently significant contributing factors for respiratory complications, while the serum total protein concentration and open esophagectomy were significant factors for in-hospital mortality.


Our results demonstrated that respiratory complications are still the main cause of operative morbidity when using the thoracoscopic esophagectomy protocol and that use of the thoracoscopic procedure does not decrease the risk of respiratory complications. The use of the thoracoscopic procedure improved postoperative in-hospital mortality. The advantages of thoracoscopic esophagectomy should be investigated further. At this point in time, however, thoracoscopic esophagectomy can be considered a feasible, safe, and advantageous surgical option.

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