Anesthesia type General
Airway DLT / SLT + Bronchial blocker
Lines and access Large bore PIV


Arterial Line
Monitors Standard monitors

Invasive hemdynamic

+/- Flowtrack
Primary anesthetic considerations
Intraoperative One-lung ventilation
Postoperative Aspiration

Vocal cord paresis Recurrent laryngeal nerve injury

Operative mortality

An esophagectomy remains a formidable surgery with high morbidity and mortality.[1] It is performed for esophageal cancer and non-malignant conditions including hiatal hernias, severe GERD refractory to medical management, esophageal strictures and diverticula, and dysmotility disorders such as achalasia.[1] Anesthetic management may contribute to the improvement of perioperative outcomes; such factors include prevention of tracheal aspiration, lung protective ventilatory strategies, thoracic epidural analgesia, judicious fluid management to optimize tissue oxygen delivery, and attention to issues that may reduce anastomotic complications.[2]

Esophageal cancer incidence has been increasing and is now the eighth most common malignancy worldwide. Despite overall poor prognosis with this malignancy, surgery plays a significant role to increase long-term survival and possible cure. Multiple variations of surgical approaches are described in the literature including Ivor Lewis (IL)[3], McKeown, and transhiatal (TH). While an open approach was used traditionally, surgeons have more recently favored minimally invasive, thoracoscopic, approaches including robotic techniques. Minimally invasive approaches allow for direct visualization within the thoracic cavity to reduce chances of injury during dissection and have reduced the pulmonary complications and hastened the recovery period.

Preoperative management

Patient evaluation

System Considerations

Labs and studies

Operating room setup

Patient preparation and premedication

Regional and neuraxial techniques

  • Thoracic epidural

Intraoperative management

Monitoring and access

  • Invasive hemodynamic monitoring
  • Large bore IV access

Induction and airway management

  • May consider RSI if high-aspiration risk due to esophageal tumor obstructing food passage
  • Left sided double lumen tube or single lumen ETT with bronchial blocker for one lung ventilation


  • Ivor Lewis: Start supine position for abdominal thorascopic approach and change to left lateral decubitus for thoracic anastamosis
  • Transhiatal: Supine

Maintenance and surgical considerations

Abdominal Dissection

  • Pt is placed supine and peritoneal cavity is examined for metastatic disease
  • Lower portion of the stomach is mobilized
  • Gastric conduit formed
  • A cervical anastomosis is performed and esophagus and stomach returned to mediastinum


Postoperative management


  • ICU
  • Step-down unit for Enhanced-Recovery cases

Pain management

  • Epidural management

Potential complications

  1. Anastomotic leak
  2. Vocal cord paresis
  3. Recurrent laryngeal nerve injury
  4. Morbidity requiring re-operation
  5. Mortality

Procedure variants

Open Thoracoscopic Robotic Ivor Lewis McKeown Transhiatal
Unique considerations
Surgical time
Postoperative disposition
Pain management
Potential complications


  1. 1.0 1.1 Ng, Ju-Mei (2008-06). "Perioperative Anesthetic Management for Esophagectomy". Anesthesiology Clinics. 26 (2): 293–304. doi:10.1016/j.anclin.2008.01.004. ISSN 1932-2275. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. Jaeger, J. Michael; Collins, Stephen R.; Blank, Randal S. (2012-12). "Anesthetic Management for Esophageal Resection". Anesthesiology Clinics. 30 (4): 731–747. doi:10.1016/j.anclin.2012.08.005. ISSN 1932-2275. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. Lewis, I. (1946-07). "The surgical treatment of carcinoma of the oesophagus; with special reference to a new operation for growths of the middle third". The British Journal of Surgery. 34: 18–31. doi:10.1002/bjs.18003413304. ISSN 0007-1323. PMID 20994128. Check date values in: |date= (help)