Background: Gastric ischemic preconditioning prior to esophagectomy has been studied as a method to improve gastric conduit perfusion and reduce anastomotic complications, without conclusive results. The aim of this study is to evaluate the feasibility and safety of gastric ischemic preconditioning in terms of post-operative outcomes and quantitative gastric conduit perfusion. Patient characteristics, surgical approach, post-operative outcomes, and indocyanine green fluorescence angiography data (ingress index for arterial inflow and ingress time for venous outflow, and the distance from the last gastroepiploic branch to the perfusion assessment point) were analyzed.

Results: There were 594 esophagectomies with gastric conduit performed, with 41 having a gastric ischemic preconditioning. Among 544 with cervical anastomoses, leaks were seen in 2/30 (6.7%) in the ischemic preconditioning group and 114/514 (22.2%) in the control group (p = 0.041). Gastric ischemic preconditioning significantly reduced anastomotic leaks on both weighting methods (p = 0.037 and 0.047, respectively). Ingress index and time of the gastric conduit with ischemic preconditioning were significantly better than those without preconditioning (p = 0.013 and 0.025, respectively) after removing the effect of the distance from the last gastroepiploic branch to the perfusion assessment point.

Conclusion: Gastric ischemic preconditioning results in a statistically significant improvement in conduit perfusion and reduction in post-operative anastomotic leaks.

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