Should we continue to drain the pylorus in patients undergoing an esophagectomy?

Puja G. Khaitan, S. J. Swanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Summary: A systematic review of the literature was performed to assess the necessity of a pyloric drainage procedure during an esophagectomy with gastric conduit reconstruction. Earlier data recommend performing a pyloric drainage procedure for all esophagectomies; however, recent studies have questioned this. A thorough literature search (January 2001-November 2011) was performed using the terms esophagectomy, pyloroplasty, pyloromyotomy, botulinum toxin, and pyloric drainage. Only studies that compared patient outcome after undergoing an esophagectomy with a pyloric drainage procedure with those undergoing an esophagectomy without a pyloric drainage procedure were selected. Only four studies, comprising 668 patients in total, were identified that compared patient outcome after undergoing an esophagectomy with or without a pyloric drainage procedure, and two additional meta-analyses were identified and selected for discussion. All studies were retrospective, and because of the heterogeneity of studies, patient demographics, reporting, and statistical analysis of patient outcome, pooling of data and meta-analysis could not be performed. Careful analysis demonstrated that pyloric drainage procedure was associated with a non-significant trend for delayed gastric emptying and biliary reflux, while not affecting the incidence of dumping. No correlation was determined between a pyloric drainage procedure and anastomotic leaks, postoperative pulmonary complications, length of hospital stay, and overall perioperative morbidity. While there are risks associated with a pyloric drainage procedure and data exist supporting its omission during an esophagectomy, no good conclusion can be drawn from the current literature. Larger multi-institutional, prospective studies are required to definitively answer this question.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)568-573
Number of pages6
JournalDiseases of the Esophagus
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Biliary reflux
  • Delayed gastric emptying
  • Esophagectomy
  • Pylorus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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