Cervical Esophageal Perforations at the Time of Endoscopic Ultrasound: A Prospective Evaluation of Frequency, Outcomes, and Patient Management

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

With the exception of one retrospective survey, there are currently no prospectively published data about the frequency of cervical esophageal perforation at the time of endoscopic ultrasound (CEP-EUS). We prospectively investigated the frequency of CEP-EUS and the outcomes and management of patients sustaining CEP-EUS.

METHODS:

All patients that underwent upper EUS by a single experienced endosonographer over a 7-year period were enrolled. All indications and immediate complications encountered, the baseline demographics, indication of the procedures, surgical interventions, length of hospital stay, and the final outcomes of the patients were prospectively recorded.

RESULTS:

A total of 5,225 EUS procedures were performed. Lower gastrointestinal tract EUS procedures (n=331) were excluded from the analysis, and thus 4,894 upper EUSs constitute this study. The mean age of the patients was 59.7 years (s.d. 14.3 years); 54% patients were men and 79% were white. Indications for EUS included pancreaticobiliary (58%), esophageal (14%), mediastinal (14%), gastric (9%), celiac blocks (1%), and other (4%). Of 4,894 patients, 3 (0.06%, exact 95% confidence interval: 0.01-0.18) suffered CEP-EUS. The curvilinear echoendoscope was used in all three patients. All patients were octogenarians and women. All perforations were suspected at the time of intubation. Esophagogram confirmed contained perforation in all patients. All patients were immediately admitted and underwent surgical repair with a neck incision and recovered completely. The length of hospital stay was 6, 11, and 23 days, respectively. All patients resumed swallowing without complications. One patient died from progressive pancreatic cancer 6 months after Whipple's procedure. The two other patients remained alive and well 12 and 22 months after the procedure.

CONCLUSIONS:

CEP-EUS is rare but a potentially devastating event for the patient and the treating physician. Although rare, the incidence is 2- to 3-fold higher than what has been reported in the survey literature. Early recognition and treatment is crucial for prompt intervention and complete recovery from CEP-EUS. These data can be used by endosonographers to counsel their patients about frequency, management, and outcomes of CEP-EUS.

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