Anastomotic leakage is one of the most severe complications after esophageal resection with gastric tube reconstruction. Impaired perfusion of the gastric fundus is seen as the main contributing factor for this complication. Optical modalities show potential in recognizing compromised perfusion in real time, when ischemia is still reversible. This review provides an overview of optical techniques with the aim to evaluate the (1) quantitative measurement of change in perfusion in gastric tube reconstruction and (2) to test which parameters are the most predictive for anastomotic leakage. A Pubmed, MEDLINE, and Embase search was performed and articles on laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF), near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI), fluorescence imaging (FI), sidestream darkfield microscopy (SDF), and optical coherence tomography (OCT) regarding blood flow in gastric tube surgery were reviewed. Two independent reviewers critically appraised articles and extracted the data: Primary outcome was quantitative measure of perfusion change; secondary outcome was successful prediction of necrosis or anastomotic leakage by measured perfusion parameters. Thirty-three articles (including 973 patients and 73 animals) were selected for data extraction, quality assessment, and risk of bias (QUADAS-2). LDF, NIRS, LSCI, and FI were investigated in gastric tube surgery; all had a medium level of evidence. IDEAL stage ranges from 1 to 3. Most articles were found on LDF (n = 12), which is able to measure perfusion in arbitrary perfusion units with a significant lower amount in tissue with necrosis development and on FI (n = 12). With FI blood flow routes could be observed and flow was qualitative evaluated in rapid, slow, or low flow. NIRS uses mucosal oxygen saturation and hemoglobin concentration as perfusion parameters. With LSCI, a decrease of perfusion units is observed toward the gastric fundus intraoperatively. The perfusion units (LDF, LSCI), although arbitrary and not absolute values, and low flow or length of demarcation to the anastomosis (FI) both seem predictive values for necrosis intraoperatively. SDF and OCT are able to measure microvascular flow, intraoperative prediction of necrosis is not yet described. Optical techniques aim to improve perfusion monitoring by real-time, high-resolution, and high-contrast measurements and could therefore be valuable in intraoperative perfusion mapping. LDF and LSCI use perfusion units, and are therefore subjective in interpretation. FI visualizes influx directly, but needs a quantitative parameter for interpretation during surgery.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDiseases of the Esophagus
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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