Surgical Treatment of Gastro-Pulmonary Fistula Following Bariatric Surgery: Possible and Safe

Alon Ben Nun*, David Simansky, Merav Rokah, Nona Zeitlin, Nir Golan, Ramez Abu Khalil, Michalle Soudack

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is a common surgical management of morbid obesity. Major complication rate is 3–8%. Staple line leak is one of the most serious complications. In a small group of patients, a gastro-pulmonary fistula is formed. Endoscopic and minimally invasive measures are the first line of treatment with considerable success rate. There are very poor data in the literature what should be done in cases of failure. In this paper, we report our positive experience with definitive surgical repair. Methods: Retrospective evaluation of 13 consecutive patients referred to the general thoracic surgery department for gastro-pulmonary fistula following sleeve gastrectomy. Results: Prior to their referral, all patients underwent surgical or percutaneous drainage and multiple treatment attempts including stent insertion, pyloric dilatation, endo-clip/ring closure, endoscopic argon ablation and glue injection. Two patients underwent emergency thoracotomy for sepsis and bile empyema. One died in the early postoperative period. Eleven patients underwent semi-elective definitive surgery. Surgery included left lower lobectomy, partial diaphragmectomy and digestive system reconstruction. There was no mortality or major complications in this group. Complication rate was 45% mostly local wound infection and pneumonia. Conclusions: Gastro-pulmonary fistula is a rare devastating complication of sleeve gastrectomy. When minimally invasive measures fail, there is no place for nihilism. Surgical repair is possible and safe. The data presented herein support this treatment policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1792-1797
Number of pages6
JournalWorld Journal of Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2018


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