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Benefits Versus Risks: A Prospective Audit

Feeding Jejunostomy During Esophagectomy

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The purpose of this prospectively collected database is to evaluate the safety, efficacy, and utility of postoperative jejunostomy feeding in terms of achieving nutritional goals and evaluating gastrointestinal and mechanical complications in patients undergoing esophagectomy.


The study included 204 consecutive patients who underwent esophagectomy for various benign and malignant conditions. All patients underwent Witzel feeding jejunostomy at the time of laparotomy. Patients were followed prospectively to record nutritional intake, type of feed administered, rate progression, tolerance, and complications either mechanical or gastrointestinal.


Feeding jejunostomy could be performed in 99.5% patients; 6.0% of the patients had a blocked catheter during the course of feeding. The target calorie requirement could be achieved in 78% of patients by third day. In all, 95% of patients could be successfully fed exclusively by jejunostomy catheter during the postoperative period. Minor gastrointestinal complications developed in 15% of the patients and were managed by slowing the rate of infusion or administering medication. Patients spent a mean of 16.67 ± 22.00 days (range 0–46 days) on jejunostomy feeding after surgery; however, 13% required prolonged jejunostomy feeding beyond 30 days. Altogether, 64% of the patients with an anastomotic leak and 50% of the patients with postoperative complications required catheter jejunostomy feeding beyond 30 days. The mean duration for which jejunostomy tube feeding was used was significantly higher for patients who developed anastomotic disruptions (33.05 ± 16.24 vs. 14.69 ± 19.04 days; p = 0.000) and postoperative complications (26.67 ± 25.56 vs. 14.52 ± 18.64 days; p = 0.000) when compared to those without disruption or complications. There were no serious complications related to the feeding catheter that required reintervention. There was no difference in the mean body weight or weight deficit at the end of 10 days and at 1 month in patients who developed complications or anastomotic disruption when compared to their counterparts. No patient died as a result of a complication related to the feeding jejunostomy.


Tube jejunostomy feeding is an effective method for providing nutritional support in patients undergoing esophagectomy, and it allows home support for the subset who fail to thrive. Prolonged tube feeding was continued in patients developing anastomotic disruptions and postoperative complications. Feeding jejunostomy has a definitive role to play in the management of the patients undergoing esophagectomy.

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Correspondence to Vikas Gupta.

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Gupta, V. Benefits Versus Risks: A Prospective Audit. World J Surg 33, 1432–1438 (2009).

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