Purpose: Esophagectomy is a highly invasive procedure, associated with several postoperative complications including pneumonia, anastomotic leakage, and sepsis, which may result in multiorgan failure. Pneumonia is considered a major predictor of poor long-term prognosis, so its prevention is important for patients undergoing surgery for esophageal cancer. Methods: The subjects of this study were 137 patients who underwent esophagectomy at Keio University Hospital, Tokyo, Japan, between January, 2012 and December, 2016. Patients who underwent R0 or R1 resection or esophagectomy with organ excision were included. Patients who underwent salvage surgery or resection of recurrent laryngeal nerve, and those with preoperative recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy, were excluded. We investigated the effect of the maximum phonation time on the development of postoperative pneumonia. Results: Pneumonia developed more frequently in patients with a long operative time, clinically left recurrent nerve lymph node metastasis, and a short preoperative maximum phonation time (p = 0.074, 0.046, and 0.080, respectively). Pneumonia was also more common in men with an abnormal maximum phonation time (p = 0.010). Conclusions: The maximum phonation time is a significant predictor of postoperative pneumonia after esophagectomy in men.
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