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Korean J Radiol. 2012 Mar-Apr;13(2):182-8. doi: 10.3348/kjr.2012.13.2.182. Epub 2012 Mar 7.

Fluoroscopically guided three-tube insertion for the treatment of postoperative gastroesophageal anastomotic leakage.

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Department of Interventional Radiology, Cancer Institution of Jiangsu Province, Nanjing, China.



To retrospectively evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of three-tube insertion for the treatment of postoperative gastroesophageal anastomotic leakage (GEAL).


From January 2007 to January 2011, 28 cases of postoperative GEAL after an esophagectomy with intrathoracic esophagogastric anastomotic procedures for esophageal and cardiac carcinoma were treated by the insertion of three tubes under fluoroscopic guidance. The three tubes consisted of a drainage tube through the leak, a nasogastric decompression tube, and a nasojejunum feeding tube. The study population consisted of 28 patients (18 males, 10 females) ranging in their ages from 36 to 72 years (mean: 59 years). We evaluated the feasibility of three-tube insertion to facilitate leakage site closure, and the patients' nutritional benefit by checking their serum albumin levels between pre- and post-enteral feeding via the feeding tube.


The three tubes were successfully placed under fluoroscopic guidance in all twenty-eight patients (100%). The procedure times for the three tube insertion ranged from 30 to 70 minutes (mean time: 45 minutes). In 27 of 28 patients (96%), leakage site closure after three-tube insertion was achieved, while it was not attained in one patient who received stent implantation as a substitute. All patients showed good tolerance of the three-tube insertion in the nasal cavity. The mean time needed for leakage treatment was 21 ± 3.5 days. The serum albumin level change was significant, increasing from pre-enteral feeding (2.5 ± 0.40 g/dL) to post-enteral feeding (3.7 ± 0.51 g/dL) via the feeding tube (p < 0.001). The duration of follow-up ranged from 7 to 60 months (mean: 28 months).


Based on the results of this study, the insertion of three tubes under fluoroscopic guidance is safe, and also provides effective relief from postesophagectomy GEAL. Moreover, our findings suggest that three-tube insertion may be used as the primary procedure to treat postoperative GEAL.


Esophageal and cardiac carcinoma; GEAL; Interventional procedure; Three-tube insertion

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