Nasogastric tube utilization after esophagectomy: an unnecessary gesture?

Cir Esp. 2020 Jun 3;S0009-739X(20)30158-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ciresp.2020.04.021. Online ahead of print.
[Article in En, Spanish]


Introduction: Nasogastric decompressive tube utilization has been accepted as one of the basic perioperative care measures after esophageal resection surgery. However, with the development of multimodal rehabilitation programs and without clear evidence to support their use, the systematic indication of this measure may be controversial.

Material and methods: Retrospective, descriptive and comparative study of patients who had undergone Ivor-Lewis esophagectomy in our center -from January 2015 to December 2018- with placement (Group S), or without placement (Group N) of a decompressive tube in gastroplasty during postoperative period. Epidemiological variables and differences between groups in post-surgical morbidity and mortality, hospital stay, onset of oral tolerance and the need for nasogastric tube placement were evaluated.

Results: A total of 43 patients were included in this study, with a median age of 61 years, being 86% male. 46.5% were hypertensive, 25.5% had lung disease and 16.3% had diabetes mellitus. The median length of hospital stay was 9 days in group S versus 11.5 days in group N, with no differences in the onset of oral tolerance. Anastomotic dehiscence rate was 5% and 0% respectively. The overall mortality was 2.3% in the first 90 days, without differences between the groups. Placement of nasogastric tube during postoperative period was required only in 1 patient (4.3%) of the group N.

Conclusions: Non-use of nasogastric tube during postoperative period of an Ivor-Lewis esophagectomy is a safe measure, as it is not associated with a higher rate of complications or hospital stay. This fact may be able to improve patients' comfort and postoperative recovery.

Keywords: Enhanced recovery after surgery; Esofaguectomía; Esophagectomy; Nasogastric tube; Rehabilitación multimodal; Sonda nasogástrica.