The prevention of anastomotic leakage after total gastrectomy with local decontamination. A prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter trial

Ann Surg. 1997 Feb;225(2):172-80. doi: 10.1097/00000658-199702000-00005.


Objective: A prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled multicenter trial was undertaken in 205 patients treated with total gastrectomy for gastric malignancies to evaluate whether local antimicrobial measures reduce the incidence of esophagojejunal anastomotic leakage.

Summary background data: Anastomotic leakage of the esophagojejunostomy is always a septic complication of total gastrectomy for gastric malignancies, but it never has been attempted to prevent this complication with the administration of topical antimicrobial agents during the critical phase of anastomotic wound healing.

Methods: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of topical decontamination, the study was carried out as a prospective, randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled clinical multicenter trial in patients with total gastrectomy for gastric cancer. Patients received either placebo or decontamination with polymyxin B (100 mg), tobramycin (80 mg), vancomycin (125 mg), and amphotericin B (500 mg) four times per day orally from the day before the operation until the seventh postoperative day. All patients received a perioperative intravenous prophylaxis with cefotaxime 2 x 2 g. Other interventions including the administration of antibiotics and fluids, were not affected by the study protocol.

Results: Of 260 patients who were randomized, total gastrectomy was not carried out in 55 patients. They dropped out of the study. Patients receiving an esophagojejunostomy were observed until day 42, when they were discharged from the clinic or died. An intention-to-treat analysis of the data was carried out. Among the 103 recipients of placebo, there were 11 (10.6%) with an anastomotic leakage of the esophagojejunostomy, and among the 102 recipients of decontamination, there were 3 (2.9%) with an anastomotic leakage of the esophagojejunostomy (p = 0.0492). Pulmonary infections were observed in 23 patients (22.3%) receiving placebo and in 9 patients (8.8%) who were decontaminated (p = 0.02). There were 11 deaths (10.6%) among the recipients of placebo and 5 deaths (4.9%) among the recipients of decontamination (p = 0.1).

Conclusions: Decontamination with polymyxin, tobramycin, vancomycin, and amphotericin B during anastomotic wound healing is safe and effective in the prevention of esophagojejunal anastomotic leakage after total gastrectomy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amphotericin B / therapeutic use
  • Anastomosis, Surgical
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis*
  • Decontamination*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Gastrectomy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymyxins / therapeutic use
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tobramycin / therapeutic use
  • Vancomycin / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Polymyxins
  • Vancomycin
  • Amphotericin B
  • Tobramycin