Background. There is evidence that perioperative blood transfusion may lead to immunosuppression. Our aim was to determine whether blood transfusion influenced survival after esophagectomy for carcinoma. Methods. The study group comprised 234 consecutive patients (175 men and 59 women) with a mean age of 66 years who underwent esophagectomy for carcinoma by one surgeon between 1988 and 1998. The impact of 41 variables on survival was determined by means of univariate and multivariate analysis. Follow-up was complete (mean follow-up, 19.2 months; standard deviation, 16 months; range, 0 to 129 months). Results. The operative mortality rate was 5.6% (13 deaths). Median operative blood loss was 700 mL (range, 150 to 7,000 mL). One hundred sixty-one patients (68.8%) received a blood transfusion postoperatively (mean transfusion, 2.6 units; range, 0 to 12 units). Overall actuarial 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year survival rates inclusive of operative mortality were 58.1%, 28.5%, and 16.1%, respectively. On univariate analysis, positive lymph nodes, pathological TNM stage, transfusion of more than 3 units of blood, incomplete resection, poor tumor cell differentiation, longer tumor, greater weight loss, male sex, and adenocarcinoma were significant (p < 0.05) negative factors for survival. On Cox proportional hazards regression analysis, after excluding operative mortality, lymph node involvement (p = 0.001), incomplete resection (p = 0.0001), poor tumor cell differentiation (p = 0.04), and transfusion of more than 3 units of blood (p = 0.04) were independent adverse predictors of late survival. Conclusions. In addition to reaffirming the importance of completeness of resection and nodal involvement, this study demonstrates that blood transfusion (more than 3 units) may have a significant adverse effect on late survival after esophageal resection for carcinoma. Every effort should be made to limit the amount of transfused blood to the absolutely essential requirements.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine