Gastric (anastomotic or staple-line) leaks after bariatric surgery are rare but potentially life-threatening complications. Endoscopic vacuum therapy (EVT) has evolved as the most promising treatment strategy for leaks associated with upper gastrointestinal surgery.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficiency of our gastric leak management protocol in all bariatric patients over a 10-year period. Special emphasis was placed on EVT treatment and its outcome as a primary treatment or as a secondary treatment when other approaches failed.
This study was performed at a tertiary clinic and certified center of reference for bariatric surgery.
In this retrospective single-center cohort study, clinical outcomes of all consecutive patients after bariatric surgery from 2012 to 2021 are reported, with special emphasis placed on gastric leak treatment. The primary endpoint was successful leak closure. Secondary endpoints were overall complications (Clavien-Dindo classification) and length of stay.
A total of 1046 patients underwent primary or revisional bariatric surgery, of whom 10 (1.0%) developed a postoperative gastric leak. Additionally, 7 patients were transferred for leak management after external bariatric surgery. Of these, 9 patients underwent primary and 8 patients underwent secondary EVT after futile surgical or endoscopic leak management. The efficacy of EVT was 100%, and there were no deaths. Complications did not differ between primary EVT and secondary treatment of leaks. Length of treatment was 17 days for primary EVT versus 61 days for secondary EVT (P = .015).
EVT for gastric leaks after bariatric surgery led to rapid source control with a 100% success rate both as primary and secondary treatment. Early detection and primary EVT shortened treatment time and length of stay. This study underlines the potential of EVT as a first-line treatment strategy for gastric leaks after bariatric surgery.
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Published online: February 14, 2023
Accepted: February 4, 2023
Received: November 11, 2022
Publication stageIn Press Journal Pre-Proof
Lars Kollmann and Stanislaus Reimer contributed equally to this work.
© 2023 American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.