Endoscopy 2010; 42: E165-E166
DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1244150
Unusual cases and technical notes

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Endoluminal vacuum therapy for anastomotic insufficiency after gastrectomy

I.  Wallstabe1 , R.  Plato2 , A.  Weimann2
  • 1Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Klinikum St. Georg, Leipzig, Germany
  • 2Department of General and Visceral Surgery, Klinikum St. Georg, Leipzig, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
16 June 2010 (online)

The reported incidence of anastomotic leaks is between 5 % and 25 %. Depending on the position and dimensions of the leaks, they are associated with a mortality of up to 60 % [1]. So far endoluminal vacuum therapy has mainly been used for treatment of anastomotic insufficiencies of the rectum [2]. Its use in the esophagus was first reported in 2007 and in only three more cases since then [3] [4] [5].

Here we report a case of a 67-year-old man who developed an anastomotic insufficiency following gastrectomy. Postoperatively, the patient presented a severely septic clinical picture and therefore surgical revision was impossible. He was ventilated and given antibiotics. On endoscopic examination 7 days after gastrectomy, a 1-cm leak covering 30 % of the anastomotic circumference was noted, with an abdominal fistula. We started endoluminal vacuum therapy by endoscopic insertion of the Endo-SPONGE system (B. Braun Melsungen AG, Melsungen, Germany; [Fig. 1]) into the esophagus. The Endo-SPONGE is an open-pored polyurethane sponge. Before insertion, we adjusted its size according to the local topography of the esophagus ([Fig. 2]). The sponge was placed via an overtube into the region of the anastomotic insufficiency at the distal end of the esophagus ([Fig. 3]). The suction tube was extended with a nasogastric tube and secretions were continuously evacuated with a suction of 13.3 kPa. Following daily suction of 200 – 400 mL of secretions, the patient's condition improved remarkably within a few days. We carried out the procedure for a total of 18 days, changing the Endo-SPONGE system every second or third day. The abdominal fistula underwent marked reduction and the anastomotic area epithelialized ([Fig. 4]). The leak was no longer detectable on radiographs and the patient recovered completely.

Fig. 1 The Endo-SPONGE system: the sponge and drain.

Fig. 2 Adjusting the sponge size.

Fig. 3 Endoscopic views at the start of the treatment showing: a the anastomotic leak; and b the abdominal cavity, seen through the fistula.

Fig. 4 View at completion of endoluminal vacuum therapy: a epithelialization of the abdominal fistula; and b the closed anastomotic leak.

In summary, endoluminal vacuum therapy offers an alternative method for the treatment of complicated anastomotic insufficiency following esophageal or gastric surgery.

Competing interests: None



Ingo Wallstabe, MD 

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Klinikum St. Georg

Delitzscher Str. 141
04129 Leipzig

Fax: +49-341-9092673

Email: wallstabe@endoskopieren.de