Fluorescent imaging using indocyanine green during esophagectomy to prevent surgical morbidity: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Fluorescent imaging using indocyanine green (ICG) is an emerging technique that aids the surgeon with intraoperative decision making during upper gastrointestinal cancer surgery. In this systematic review we aim to provide an overview of current practice of fluorescence imaging using ICG during esophagectomy, and to show how this technology can prevent surgical morbidity, such as anastomotic leakage, graft necrosis and chylothorax. Methods: The PRISMA standard for systematic reviews was used. The PubMed and Embase database were searched to identify articles matching our systematic literature search. Two authors screened all included articles for eligibility. Risk of bias was assessed for all included articles. Results: A total of 25 articles were included in this review: 22 articles on perfusion assessment, and three on the detection of chyle fistula. Five out of 22 articles concerning perfusion assessment evaluated fluorescence signals in quantitative values. In 20 articles the pooled incidence of anastomotic leakage and graft necrosis in the ICG group was 11.10% (95% CI: 8.06–15.09%) and in eight studies the pooled change in management rate was 24.55% (95% CI: 19.16–30.88%). After change in management, the pooled incidence of anastomotic leakage and graft necrosis was 14.08% (95% CI: 6.55–27.70%). A meta-analysis showed that less anastomotic leakages and graft necrosis occur in the ICG group (OR 0.30, 95% CI: 0.14–0.63). Three case-reports (N=3) were identified regarding chyle fistula detection, and ICG lymphography detected the thoracic duct in all cases and the chyle fistula in one case. Conclusions: Fluorescence imaging using ICG is a promising and safe technology to reduce surgical morbidity after esophagectomy with continuity restoration. ICG fluorescence angiography showed a reduction in anastomotic leakage and graft necrosis. Future studies are needed to demonstrate the feasibility of ICG lymphography for chyle fistula detection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S755-S765
JournalJournal of thoracic disease
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Cite this