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J Gastrointest Surg. 2010 Feb;14(2):203-10. doi: 10.1007/s11605-009-1106-1. Epub 2009 Dec 3.

Should elective repair of intrathoracic stomach be encouraged?

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Department of Surgery, School of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.



Given our aging population, patients with an intrathoracic stomach are an increasing clinical problem. The timing of repair remains controversial, and most reports do not delineate morbidity of emergent presentation. The aim of the study was to compare the morbidity and mortality of elective and emergent repair.


Study population consisted of 127 patients retrospectively reviewed undergoing repair of intrathoracic stomach from 2000 to 2006. Repair was elective in 104 and emergent in 23 patients. Outcome measures included postoperative morbidity and mortality.


Patients presenting acutely were older (79 vs. 65 years, p < 0.0001) and had higher prevalence of at least one cardiopulmonary comorbidity (57% vs. 21%, p = 0.0014). They suffered greater mortality (22% vs. 1%, p = 0.0007), major (30% vs. 3%, p = 0.0003), and minor (43% vs. 19%, p = 0.0269) complications compared to elective repair. On multivariate analysis, emergent repair was a predictor of in-hospital mortality, major complications, readmission to intensive care unit, return to operating room, and length of stay.


Emergent surgical repair of intrathoracic stomach was associated with markedly higher mortality and morbidity than elective repair. Although patients undergoing urgent surgery were older and had more comorbidities than those having an elective procedure, these data suggest that elective repair should be considered in patients with suitable surgical risk.

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