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Immediate extubation and epidural analgesia allow safe management in a high-dependency unit after two-stage oesophagectomy. Results of eight years of experience in a specialized upper gastrointestinal unit in a district general hospital

Lookup NU author(s): John Wayman


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Background. The perioperative management of two-stage oesophagectomy has not been standardized and the prevailing practice regarding the timing of extubation after the procedure varies. This audit has evaluated the outcome, in particular the respiratory morbidity and mortality, after immediate extubation in patients who have had thoracic epidural analgesia. Methods. All the patients who underwent two-stage oesophagectomy by a single specialist upper gastrointestinal surgeon were recorded both retrospectively (1993-1999) and prospectively (1999-2001). Physical characteristics, comorbid factors, anaesthetic management and postoperative events were recorded on a computer database. Analysis was undertaken to evaluate the morbidity and mortality, in particular the need for reventilation and transfer to the ITU. Results. Seventy-six patients underwent two-stage oesophagectomy between 1993 and 2001. Seventy-three (96%) patients were extubated in theatre and transferred to a high-dependency bed. Three were ventilated electively and extubated within 36 h and made an uncomplicated recovery. Seven (10%) of the immediately extubated patients subsequently needed admission to the ICU and reventilation. Sixty-seven patients had effective epidural analgesia and nine needed i.v. morphine by patient-controlled analgesia. The 30-day or in-hospital mortality was 2.6% (2 of 76). A further two patients died within 90 days, but after discharge. Respiratory complications were responsible for half of the overall morbidity (44.7%). Respiratory failure occurred in 6.5% (5 of 76) and acute respiratory distress syndrome in 2.6% (2 of 76). Both the in-hospital deaths occurred in patients requiring reventilation and resulted from respiratory complications. The following factors were found to be significant in the reventilated patients: duration of one-lung ventilation; forced expiratory volume in the first second; and ratio of forced expiratory volume in the first second/forced vital capacity. Conclusions. Immediate extubation after two-stage oesophagectomy in patients with thoracic epidural analgesia is safe and associated with low morbidity and mortality. Patients can be managed in a high-dependency unit, thus avoiding the need for intensive care. This has cost-saving and logistical implications.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Chandrashekar MV, Irving M, Wayman J, Raimes SA, Linsley A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Anaesthesia

Year: 2003

Volume: 90

Issue: 4

Pages: 474-479

ISSN (print): 0007-0912

ISSN (electronic): 1471-6771

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/bja/aeg091


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