Background: Evaluation of the blood supply to gastric conduits is critically important to avoid complications after esophagectomy. We began visual evaluation of blood flow using indocyanine green (ICG) fluorescent imaging in July 2015, to reduce reconstructive complications. In this study, we aimed to statistically verify the efficacy of blood flow evaluation using our simplified ICG method. Study Design: A total of 285 consecutive patients who underwent esophagectomy and gastric conduit reconstruction were reviewed and divided into 2 groups: before and after introduction of ICG evaluation. The entire cohort and 68 patient pairs after propensity score matching (PS-M) were evaluated for clinical outcomes and the effect of visualized evaluation on reducing the risk of complication. Results: The leakage rate in the ICG group was significantly lower than in the non-ICG group for each severity grade, both in the entire cohort (285 subjects) and after PS-M; the rates of other major complications, including recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy and pneumonia, were not different. The duration of postoperative ICU stay was approximately 1 day shorter in the ICG group than in the non-ICG group in the entire cohort, and approximately 2 days shorter after PS-M. Visualized evaluation of blood flow with ICG methods significantly reduced the rate of anastomotic complications of all Clavien-Dindo (CD) grades. Odds ratios for ICG evaluation decreased with CD grade (0.3419 for CD ≥ 1; 0.241 for CD ≥ 2; and 0.2153 for CD ≥ 3). Conclusions: Objective evaluation of blood supply to the reconstructed conduit using ICG fluorescent imaging reduces the risk and degree of anastomotic complication.
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