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Reg Anesth Pain Med. 2013 Jan-Feb;38(1):3-8. doi: 10.1097/AAP.0b013e318276a714.

Dual-epidural catheter technique and perioperative outcomes after Ivor-Lewis esophagectomy.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Division of Thoracic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.



Ivor-Lewis esophagectomy is associated with significant postoperative analgesic requirements and perioperative complications. A dual-epidural technique may improve perioperative outcomes compared with single thoracic epidural analgesia.


This study identified all cases of Ivor-Lewis esophagectomy over a 3-year period. Eighty-one patients undergoing Ivor-Lewis esophagectomy who received general anesthesia supplemented by neuraxial analgesia with dual-epidural catheters (DECs) were matched 1:1 with patients who received general anesthesia and a single thoracic epidural catheter. Primary outcomes included quality of analgesia at rest and with movement on each of the first 3 postoperative days. Secondary outcomes included adverse events and the incidence of 4 major postoperative complications (anastomotic leak, pulmonary complications, atrial fibrillation, and sepsis).


A DEC technique significantly improved analgesia (evidenced by reduced pain with movement on each of the first 3 postoperative days) when compared with a single epidural catheter technique. The placement of DECs did not increase catheter-related adverse events. A DEC technique was associated with a 50% reduction in the combined rate of major postoperative complications (36% vs. 18%; odds ratio, 0.40; P = 0.01) and increased number of hospital-free days measured at day 28 (21.2 vs. 22.3; P = 0.04).


The DEC technique improved postoperative analgesia and reduced the incidence of major postoperative complications and hospital length of stay in patients undergoing Ivor-Lewis esophagectomy. Future studies should evaluate the efficacy of this technique in a controlled randomized clinical trial.

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