Background: Endoscopic treatment options for postsurgical intrathoracic leaks include injection of fibrin glue, clip application, and stent placement. Endoscopic vacuum-assisted closure (E-VAC) may be an effective treatment option.
Objective: To demonstrate that E-VAC is an effective endoscopic treatment option for closure of major intrathoracic postsurgical leaks.
Design and setting: A prospective, single-center study at an academic medical center.
Patients: Eight consecutive patients with major intrathoracic postsurgical leaks.
Interventions: Endoscopic placement of transnasal draining tubes, armed with a size-adjusted sponge at their distal end, in the necrotic anastomotic cavities, followed by continuous suction. Sponge and drainage were changed twice weekly. Patients were followed-up for 193 +/- 137 days.
Main outcome measurement: Successful leak closure.
Results: Successful closure of leaks was achieved in 7 of 8 patients (88%) after a mean of 23 +/- 8 days. A median of 7 endoscopic interventions was necessary. No major treatment-associated short-term or long-term (follow-up, 193 +/- 137 days) complications were noted.
Limitations: Small sample size, single-center study, and lack of randomization.
Conclusion: E-VAC is an effective endoscopic treatment modality for major postsurgical intrathoracic leaks. (This study is registered at Clinicaltrials.gov, identifier NCT00876551.).