Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology
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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 24-28

Functional outcome of gastrointestinal tract and quality of life after esophageal reconstruction of esophagus cancer

1 Department of Thoracic, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Razi Hospital Rasht, Iran
2 Department of General Surgery, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Razi Hospital Rasht, Iran
3 Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases Research Center, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Manochehr Aghajanzadeh
Golsar Ave.100, St. No.37 Rasht
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1319-3767.45050

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Background/Aim: Information about functional outcome and quality of life after esophagectomy and esophageal reconstruction (ER) for the treatment of esophageal cancer, as evaluated by the patients themselves is limited. We aimed to study the post-surgical outcome of such patients to detect for the development of any complications that may arise from the surgery as well as to evaluate their quality of life following the surgery. Methods: From 1993 to 2003, 240 patients with stage I, II, or III esophageal carcinoma underwent esophagectomy at Razi Teaching Hospital located in the north of Iran. Of these, 192 patients filled out a questionnaire during a 2-year period (ranging from 12 to 48 months after surgical reconstruction). Among them, there were 134 men (69%) and 58 women (31%), and the mean age at the time of ER was 48 years (ranging from 22 to 75 years). Transhiatal esophagectomy, extended esophagectomy (three field operation), and Ivor-Lewis resection were done in 142 (73.95%), 30 (15.62%), and 20 patients (10.42%), respectively. Intestinal continuity after esophageal resection was established with stomach in 154 patients (80%), colon in 28 patients (14%), and small bowel in 10 patients (5.2%). Cervical anastomosis was established in 172 patients (89.6%), while intrathoracic anastomosis was performed in 20 patients (10.4%). Results: After ER, 66 patients (34.4%) suffered from dysphagia to solids and 50 patients (26%) required at least one or three postoperative dilatations for alleviation of symptoms. Gastroesophageal reflux was seen in 32 patients (16.66%) and was more common in thoracic anastomosis patients than in cervical anastomosis patients. Heartburn was present in 33 cases (17%), 30 of whom required medication (37%). The number of meals per day was three to four in 116 patients (60%), more than four in 51 patients (29%), and less than three in 19 patients (9.82%). The number of bowel movement per day increased in 52 patients (27%), decreased in 60 cases (31%), and unchanged in 80 patients (41%). Weight gain was reported by 38 patients (19.8%), and weight loss was reported by 50 patients (26%). No change in weight occurred in 100 patients (52%). Overall satisfaction was excellent in 29 patients (15%). Overall quality of life (work, pain-relief, vitality, and emotional status) was lower than in general population. Age, sex, and stage of cancer did not affect the functional outcome but affected the quality of life. Also patients who received cervical anastomosis and ER with colon had significantly fewer reflux symptoms. Most of the patients with colon reconstruction gained weight. Conclusions: Self-assessment of postoperative ER by the patients after esophagectomy for malignant disease demonstrates that undesirable symptoms are frequently present at short- and long-term follow-ups. Short- and long-term functional outcome is affected by the type of reconstruction after esophagectomy. Results of this study suggest that colon graft in ER is significantly advantageous compared with other methods because of the ability of patients to gain weight and avoid developing postoperative reflux.

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