Background: Leakage of the esophago-gastrostomy after esophagectomy with gastric tube reconstruction is a serious complication. Anastomotic leakage occurs in up to 20% of patients and a compromised perfusion of the gastric tube is thought to play an important role. This meta-analysis aimed to investigate whether arterial calcification is a risk factor for anastomotic leakage in esophageal surgery. Method: Embase, Medline, PubMed, Cochrane databases and Google scholar databases were systematically searched for studies that assessed arterial calcification of the thoracic aorta, celiac axis including its branches, or the superior mesenteric artery in patients that underwent esophagectomy with gastric tube reconstruction. The degree of calcification was classified as absent, minor or major. A “random-effects model” was used to calculate pooled Odds Ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Heterogeneity was assessed using the Q-test and I2-test. Results: From the 456 articles retrieved, seven studies were selected including 1.860 patients. The median (range) of anastomotic leakage was 17.2% (12.7–24.8). Meta-analysis showed a statistically significant association between increased calcium score and anastomotic leakage for the thoracic aorta (OR 2.18(CI 1.42–3.34)), celiac axis (OR 1.62(CI 1.15–2.29)) and right post-celiac axis (common hepatic, gastroduodenal and right gastroepiploic arteries) (OR 2.69(CI 1.27–5.72)). Heterogeneity was observed for analysis on calcification of the thoracic aorta and celiac axis (I2 = 71% and 59%, respectively) but not for the right branches of the celiac axis (I2 = 0%). Conclusion: This meta-analysis, including good quality studies, showed a statistically significant association between arterial calcification and anastomotic leakage in patients who underwent esophagectomy with gastric tube reconstruction.

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European Journal of Surgical Oncology
Department of Surgery