A propensity score matched study: Predictive signs of anastomotic leakage after gastric cancer surgery and the role of CT
Background: Anastomotic leakage is a critical postoperative complication after gastric cancer surgery. Previous studies have not specified radiological findings of anastomotic leakage. We investigated the potential burden caused by postoperative anastomotic leakage and explored the objective appearances of anastomotic leakage on computed tomography (CT) examination. Methods: Gastric cancer patients who underwent curative gastrectomy and had a CT examination after surgery were included in this study. Propensity score (PS) matching generated 70 cases (35 cases of anastomotic leakage and 35 cases of no anastomotic leak) among 210 eligible cases. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to identify the predictive variables of CT findings. Results: More severe postoperative complications were observed in patients who had an anastomotic failure than those without anastomotic leakage(p<0.05). The median number of postoperative days (PODs) was 18 days for patients with no anastomotic leak, but the length of stay was almost three times longer (50 days) in patients with anastomotic leakage(p<0.05). In the univariate analysis, we observed a significant association between anastomotic leakage and five CT variables, including pneumoperitoneum, pneumoseroperitoneum (intra-abdominal accumulation of mixed gas and fluid), accumulation of extraluminal gas at the anastomosis site, seroperitoneum and extraluminal fluid collection at the anastomosis site (p<0.05). The multivariate analysis of the CT parameters revealed that the accumulation of extraluminal gas at the anastomosis site is the independent diagnostic parameters of a postoperative anastomotic leakage (p<0.05). Conclusions: The occurrence of an anastomotic leakage significantly compromises the patients and increases the treatment burden. The CT variables of this study are beneficial to rule out anastomotic leakage after gastric cancer surgery. Extraluminal gas at the anastomosis site is highly suggestive of anastomotic leakage.
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