One hundred thirty-one patients (107 men and 24 women) underwent transhiatal esophagectomy for carcinoma of the esophagus. Median age was 65.3 years (range, 30 to 89 years). Signs and symptoms were present in 130 patients, which included dysphagia in 96 (73.3%) and weight loss (median, 7.7 kg) in 52 (39.7%). The cancer involved the gastroesophageal junction in 94 patients, the lower half of the intrathoracic esophagus in 25, the upper half in 10, and multiple sites in 2. An adenocarcinoma was present in 101 patients (77.1%), squamous cell carcinoma in 29 (22.1%), and adenosquamous cell in 1 (0.8%). The cancer was classified as stage 0 in 4 patients, stage I in 16, stage IIA in 26, stage IIB in 18, stage III in 65, and stage IV in 1. The stomach was used to replace the esophagus in all patients. Operative mortality was 2.3%. Anastomotic leak developed in 32 patients; 6 leaks were not clinically significant, 12 healed with drainage alone, and 14 required further surgical intervention. Follow-up ranged from 1 month to 6.7 years (median, 1.4 years). Currently, 42 patients are alive, 34 without evidence of recurrence. Overall 5-year survival was 20.8% and varied according to stage. Five-year survival was 47.5% for patients with stage I disease compared with 37.7% for patients in stage II and only 5.8% 4-year survival for patients in stage III. Cell type also influenced survival. Five-year survival for patients with adenocarcinoma was 27.1% compared with zero for patients with squamous cell carcinoma (p < 0.03). Forty patients (33.9%) had development of late dysphagia (23 malignant, 17 benign) and 33 required dilation. We conclude that transhiatal esophagectomy for cancer of the esophagus can be performed with low operative mortality, satisfactory long-term survival, and good long-term function, but that associated morbidity is substantial.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine