Transhiatal (Blunt) Esophagectomy for Malignant and Benign Esophageal Disease: Clinical Experience and Technique

James R. Stewart, Michael G. Sarr, Kenneth W. Sharp, Gershon Efron, Juan Juanteguy, Thomas R. Gadacz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


“Blunt” transhiatal esophagectomy was performed in 23 selected patients. Nineteen had squamous carcinoma of the esophagus (upper third, 1; middle third, 12; distal third, 6), and 2 had adenocarcinoma of the distal esophagus. The other 2 patients had severe lye strictures. Resection with reconstruction was performed in one stage. Esophagogastric continuity was restored using the stomach in the posterior mediastinal position in 20 patients and in the substernal position in 2. The colon in the posterior mediastinal position was used in 1 patient with a lye stricture. Transmural tumor extension or cervical or celiac nodal metastases or both were present in 18 of 21 patients with carcinoma. There was 1 hospital death due to pericardial tamponade. Morbidity included a transient cervical anastomotic leak in 3 patients, one temporary and three permanent unilateral recurrent laryngeal nerve palsies, one intraoperative splenic injury, and severe hemorrhage requiring sternotomy for control in 1 patient. Pulmonary complications occurred in 4 patients: aspiration pneumonia (1) and moderate atelectasis (3). Three patients have died (11, 12, and 17 months postoperatively) in the group with cancer, with follow-up time of 3 to 30 months (mean, 15 months). Transhiatal blunt esophagectomy is a safe and effective procedure in many patients with either esophageal cancer or extensive, benign esophageal strictures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-348
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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