Transcervical gastric tube drainage facilitates patient mobility and reduces the risk of pulmonary complications after esophagectomy

Matthew J. Schuchert, Brian L. Pettiford, Joshua P. Landreneau, Jonathon Waxman, Arman Kilic, Ricardo S. Santos, Michael S. Kent, Amgad El-Sherif, Ghulam Abbas, James D. Luketich, Rodney J. Landreneau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Standard nasogastric decompression following esophagectomy is associated with reduced patient comfort and mobility and impaired hypopharyngeal function-predisposing the patient to sinusitis, pharyngitis, and the risk of aspiration. In this study, we evaluate the results of the transcervical gastric tube drainage in the setting of esophagectomy. Transcervical gastric tube decompression was performed on 145 consecutive patients undergoing open esophagectomy between 2003 and 2007. Postoperative outcome variables include morbidity, mortality, esophagostomy duration, and length of stay. There were 107 males and 38 females (median age∈=∈66; range∈=∈37-87). Perioperative mortality was 2.8%. Major complications included five anastomotic leaks (3.4%), ten pneumonias (6.9%), two myocardial infarctions (1.4%), and the need for reoperation in four patients (bleeding, dehiscence). Median duration of transcervical drainage was 8 days. No tubes were dislodged prematurely. There were no bleeding complications. Four patients developed cellulitis near the cervical gastric tube site and were treated successfully with antibiotics and/or tube removal. Transcervical gastric decompression can be performed safely with minimal complication risk. Inadvertent tube removal was not encountered in this series. The use of this technique may help to promote accelerated patient mobilization, greater patient comfort, and a durable means of gastric decompression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1479-1484
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Anastomotic leak
  • Cervical esophagostomy
  • Esophagectomy
  • Gastric decompression
  • Ischemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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