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Am J Surg. 1994 Jan;167(1):96-102; discussion 102-3.

Long-term results of radical esophagogastrectomy for bleeding varices due to unshuntable extrahepatic portal hypertension.

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Department of Surgery, University of California, San Diego Medical Center 92103-8999.


This report describes the long-term results of one-stage total gastrectomy and distal two-thirds esophagectomy, with reconstruction by esophagojejunostomy (16 Roux-en-Y; 2 interposition), in 18 adult patients with recurrent variceal hemorrhage due to unshuntable extrahepatic portal hypertension (EHPH) from occlusion of all major tributaries of the portal venous system. The etiology of portal venous occlusion was unknown in 11 patients, abdominal trauma in 3, peritonitis in 3, and thrombotic coagulopathy in 1. Almost half of the patients had their first episode of bleeding in childhood, and 83% experienced bleeding before 40 years of age. The severity of the problem was reflected by frequent previous bleeding episodes (mean: 12.8, range: 4 to 21), a large cumulative requirement for blood transfusions (mean: 129 units, range: 28 to 247 units), repeated, costly hospital admissions (mean: 15, range: 4 to 24), and numerous previous unsuccessful operations (mean: 4.4, range: 1 to 14). Blood transfusions transmitted serum hepatitis to three patients and AIDS to one, for an incidence of 22%. Bleeding recurred after repetitive endoscopic sclerotherapy in 10 patients and after various operations in 16 (failed portal-systemic shunts in 9, splenectomy in 16, devascularization procedures in 13). All patients had large esophageal and gastric varices on endoscopy, normal liver function, and widespread portal venous occlusion on visceral angiography. Radical esophagogastrectomy was usually a long and arduous operation because of dense adhesions, extensive collateral veins, and a scarred, contracted bowel mesentery due to previous operations. All patients survived the operation and are currently alive. No patient has had recurrent bleeding during 1 to 26 years of follow-up (mean: 13.9 years, 7 or more years in 14 patients). Quality of life has been good. It is concluded that radical esophagogastrectomy is the only effective treatment of unshuntable EHPH and that the operation should be performed promptly when this disease, which is associated with high mortality, high morbidity, and high costs, is diagnosed.

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