Association of Splenectomy With Postoperative Complications in Patients With Proximal Gastric and Gastroesophageal Junction Cancer

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Splenectomy has been associated with increased morbidity after gastrectomy for gastric cancer. Resection of proximal versus distal tumors is associated with a higher morbidity. Because splenectomy is more commonly performed in resection of proximal tumors, these analyses may be biased. The aim of this study was to describe the association of splenectomy with complications in patients undergoing resection of proximal gastric and gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancers.


From July 1985 to August 2001, 335 patients underwent resection of proximal gastric or GEJ (type II and III) cancers. Clinical and pathologic factors were retrieved from a prospective database.


Overall morbidity was 59% (infectious complications, 41%; noninfectious complications, 36%), and mortality was 4.5%. Splenectomy was associated with a higher rate of infectious complications (57% vs. 33%; P < .01) but not of noninfectious complications (39% vs. 34%; not significant) or mortality (4% vs. 5%; not significant). Splenectomy was also associated with a higher rate of infectious complications on multivariate analysis (hazard ratio, 2.4; P < .01).


Morbidity after resection of proximal gastric and GEJ cancer is significant; splenectomy is associated with increased morbidity, but not mortality, in these patients. Because these complications can be managed without an increase in mortality, splenectomy should be performed when indicated by the extent of the tumor.

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