The short esophagus: Intraoperative assessment of esophageal length

Sandro Mattioli, Maria Luisa Lugaresi, Mario Costantini, Alberto Del Genio, Natale Di Martino, Landino Fei, Uberto Fumagalli, Vincenzo Maffettone, Luigi Monaco, Mario Morino, Fabrizio Rebecchi, Riccardo Rosati, Mauro Rossi, Stefano Santi, Vincenzo Trapani, Giovanni Zaninotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To define the frequency and predictors of short esophagus in a case series of patients undergoing antireflux surgery. Method: An observational prospective study from September 10, 2004, to October 31, 2006, was performed at 8 centers. The distance between the esophagogastric junction as identified by intraoperative esophagoscopy and the apex of the diaphragmatic hiatus was measured intraoperatively before and after esophageal mediastinal dissection; a distance of 1.5 cm was arbitrarily determined to categorize cases as long (>1.5 cm) or short (≤1.5 cm). Results: One hundred eighty patients were enrolled; the mean age of patients was 49.3 ± 15.3 years. At the first measurement (after isolation of the esophagogastric junction), the median distance between the esophagogastric junction and the apex of the hiatus was equal to or shorter than 1.5 cm in 68 (37.7%) patients; at the second measurement (after full mediastinal isolation), the measurement of the distance was still shorter than 1.5 cm in 34 (18.8%) patients and between 1.5 and 2.5 cm in 24 (13.4%) patients. The median length of the mediastinal esophageal dissection was 6 cm (range 1-12 cm). An esophageal lengthening procedure was performed in 26 (14.4%) patients. The duration of symptoms (P = .047), the General Health domain of the SF-36 questionnaire (P = .001), and an x-ray barium swallow (P = .000) are predictive factors for a "true" short esophagus. Conclusions: True short esophagus is present in about 20% of patients undergoing routine antireflux surgery. Radiology, severity, and duration of symptoms are predictors of true foreshortening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)834-841
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Surgery


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