Original Article

Effects of preoperative sarcopenia on postoperative complications of minimally invasive oesophagectomy for oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma

Jinxin Xu, Bin Zheng, Shuliang Zhang, Taidui Zeng, Hao Chen, Wei Zheng, Chun Chen


Background: Sarcopenia is closely associated with surgical complications in patients with certain cancers. In this study we assessed the relationship between sarcopenia and postoperative complications in patients with oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Methods: We retrospectively analysed of patients who underwent thoracoscopic combined with laparoscopic radical resection of oesophageal cancer. Preoperative computed tomography to evaluate skeletal muscle mass to diagnose sarcopenia and to evaluate associations with age, body mass index (BMI), lung function and postoperative complications.
Results: Among 141 patients, 73 presented with sarcopenia (sarcopenia group) and 68 did not (non-sarcopenia group). The mean skeletal muscle index in all patients was 49.5±9.0 cm2/m2; median, 49.3 cm2/m2. The sarcopenia group included a higher proportion of men (P=0.039) and had a lower BMI than the non-sarcopenia group (P=0.001). There were no significant differences in any other clinical and pathological features. The incidences of postoperative complications in the sarcopenia and non-sarcopenia groups were 63.0% and 36.8%, respectively (P=0.002). The incidences of pulmonary infections and postoperative pleural effusions were 28.8% vs. 11.8% (P=0.011) and 38.4% vs. 20.6% (P=0.020) in the sarcopenia and non-sarcopenia groups, respectively. The incidences of other complications were not significantly different between the two groups. Univariate and multivariate analyses of pulmonary infection-related clinical factors revealed that sarcopenia and forced expiratory volume in the first second as a percent of forced vital capacity (FEV1.0%) were independent risk factors for pulmonary infection after minimally invasive surgery.
Conclusions: Preoperative sarcopenia is an independent risk factor for pulmonary infection after minimally invasive oesophagectomy (MIE). Evaluation of preoperative sarcopenia will thus help to prevent postoperative complications.

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