Functional assessment of the cervical esophagus after gastric transposition and cervical esophagogastrostomy

Koh, Paul; Turnbull, Geoffrey; Attia, Elhamy; LeBrun, Paul; Casson, Alan G.
April 2004
European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery;Apr2004, Vol. 25 Issue 4, p480
Academic Journal
Objectives: The aim of this exploratory study was to investigate swallowing and function of the cervical esophagus after esophageal resection and reconstruction. Methods: Nine patients (8 males, 1 female; median age 63 years), who underwent esophageal resection for adenocarcinoma, were studied from 6 to 40 months (median 18 months) postoperatively. For all patients, the upper gastrointestinal tract was reconstructed by transposing a narrow gastric tube through the posterior mediastinum to the left neck, where a semi-mechanical anastomosis to the cervical esophagus was performed. No patient had an anatomic obstruction to swallowing or stricture. The oral and pharyngeal phases of deglutition and function of the cervical esophagus were evaluated objectively by video barium swallow, esophagogastroscopy, velopharyngeal examination, manometry and balloon inflation in the cervical esophagus. Results: The median length of the cervical esophagus was 5 cm (range 3–7 cm). Mild reflux laryngopharyngitis was seen in all patients. Although all patients had an objective functional dysphagia measurement (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) of 7 (normal), five reported subjective dysphagia. Four (of the five symptomatic) patients were found to have high pressure peristalitic activity (mean >100 mmHg) following balloon distention (10–30 ml) of the cervical esophagus, which was painful in three cases. Conclusions: We conclude that in the absence of an anatomic cause for dysphagia after cervical esophagogastrostomy, a functional etiology may be explained by hypertensive peristalsis resulting from distention of the remaining cervical esophageal remnant. These findings may further explain anecdotal reports of the efficacy of empiric dilation after upper gastrointestinal reconstruction when no stricture is seen.


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