Seventy Cases of Partial Gastric Pull-Up According to the Schärli Technique for Esophageal Replacement in Pediatrics

*Corresponding author: Martín Rubio, Mariano Boglione*, Carlos Fraire, Silvia Takeda, Cristian Weyersberg, Fermín Prieto and Marcelo Barrenechea

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original research


Esophageal replacement (ER) is indicated in patients with long gap esophageal atresia (LGEA) or failure of the primary anastomosis. Also, severe caustic or peptic strictures, resistant to conservative treatment with medication and dilations, may require an ER. Numerous techniques with different organs and routes have been described, all with satisfactory results.
Our objective is to describe the experience obtained with partial gastric pull-up according to the Schärli principles (SGPA).
Materials and Methods
Medical records of patients who required a SGPA between October 1995 to June 2018 were reviewed. The analysis was observational, longitudinal, retro-prospective and descriptive. Epidemiological data, surgical aspects and postoperative complications of the patients were considered.
Seventy ER were performed with SGPA. The indication was esophageal atresia (EA) in 58 cases (44 long gap and 14 failure of the anastomosis), 10 caustic strictures, one peptic stricture resistant to conservative treatment and the other due to a retained foreign body. The age of the ER was on average 2-years and 9-months. The route was: posterior mediastinal (35), retrosternal (29) and transpleural (6); without a thoracic approach in 59 patients. The duration of the procedure was 4.7-hours on average. There were 13 cases of intraoperative complications, 8 cases of pneumothorax, 5 bleeding injuries (3 in the spleen, 1 liver and 1 cervical), and one injury to the cervical trachea. Anastomotic dehiscence was observed in 37 patients (52%), which closed spontaneously after an average of 17.8-days in all except one patient. Thirty-one patients (44%) developed anastomotic stenosis, requiring redo anastomosis in 6 cases; 37% developed dumping and 23% gastroesophageal reflux disease. There were 3 deaths (4.2%): all in EA patients with associated malformations, following a morbid postoperative period with infectious complications in intensive care at 10-days, 7 and 8-months after ER. Follow-up was an average of 8-years. All 67 living patients are currently tolerating oral feeding.
In our experience with ER using SGPA, we observed a high incidence of complications, generating a longer post-operative evolution and with greater morbidity than that described in other techniques. Given these results, we changed our strategy to complete gastric transposition, in order to reduce morbidity and improve the evolution of this complex group of patients.
Esophageal replacement; Partial gastric pull-up; Esophageal atresia; Caustic stricture.