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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in World Journal of Surgery
Volume 37, Issue 2, February 2013, Pages 408-415. The published version is available at DOI: 10.1007/s00268-012-1823-6. Copyright © Springer Verlag


INTRODUCTION: The incidence of cancer of the esophagus/GE junction is dramatically increasing but continues to have a dismal prognosis. Esophagectomy provides the best opportunity for long-term cure but is hampered by increased rates of perioperative morbidity. We reviewed our large institutional experience to evaluate the impact of postoperative complications on the long-term survival of patients undergoing resection for curative intent.

METHODS: We identified 237 patients who underwent esophagogastrectomy, with curative intent, for cancer between 1994 and 2008. Complications were graded using the previously published Clavien scale. Survival was calculated using Kaplan-Meier methodology and survival curves were compared using log-rank tests. Multivariate analysis was performed with continuous and categorical variables as predictors of survival, and examined with logistic regression and odds ratio confidence intervals.

RESULTS: There were 12 (5 %) perioperative deaths. The average age of all patients was 62 years, and the majority (82 %) was male. Complication grade did not significantly affect long-term survival, although patients with grade IV (serious) complications did have a decreased survival (p = 0.15). Predictors of survival showed that the minimally invasive type esophagectomy (p = 0.0004) and pathologic stage (p = 0.0007) were determining factors. There was a significant difference in overall survival among patients who experienced pneumonia (p = 0.00016) and respiratory complications (p = 0.0004), but this was not significant on multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSIONS: In this single-institution series, we found that major perioperative morbidity did not have a negative impact on long-term survival which is different than previous series. The impact of tumor characteristics at time of resection on long-term survival is of most importance.

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