Background: Staple line leak, although rare, is among the most common postoperative complications after sleeve gastrectomy (SG) and usually occurs in the gastroesophageal (GE) junction. Increased intragastric pressure, regional ischemia, and technical failure of stapling devices have been reported as the main risk factors of postoperative leak. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of ischemia and intraluminal pressure in leak appearance.
Methods: Landrace swine (n = 12) were subjected to SG and total gastrectomy subsequently. Lactic acid, glycerol, and pyruvate were measured by microdialysis in GE junction and pylorus before and nine times after operation, and lactate/pyruvate (L/P) ratio was calculated as well. Moreover, ex vivo air was insufflated inside the tubularized stomach till a rupture of the staple line occurs. Maximum air pressure reached and location of rupture were recorded.
Results: Increase of lactic acid and L/P ratio were demonstrated in GE junction measurements; however, when the measurements between GE junction and pylorus were compared, no statistically significant differences were found, with the exception of a slightly increased lactate concentration in pylorus in the midst of measurements. The maximum air pressure recorded varied from 3 to 75 mmHg (mean 24.5 mmHg) and the majority of ruptures (n = 8) occurred in GE junction. In one of them, clip displacement was noticed.
Conclusions: No evidence of increased ischemia in GE junction compared to pylorus was recorded. Increased intraluminal pressure and stapling malfunction may play the most important role in leak appearance.