Purpose: In patients with esophageal cancer, skeletal muscle mass has been reported to decrease progressively after surgery and be independently associated with a poor prognosis. The purpose of this study was to investigate perioperative changes in dysphagia, oral intake status, and nutritional status and identify factors related to sarcopenia 6 months after esophagectomy. Methods: A total of 134 patients who underwent radical resection for thoracic esophageal cancer between March 2016 and July 2019 were analyzed retrospectively. The diagnosis of sarcopenia was made by CT taken 6 months postoperatively using the cut-off criteria of skeletal muscle index (SMI) < 52.4 cm2/m2 for male and SMI < 38.5 cm2/m2 for female patients. As factors related to postoperative sarcopenia, dysphagia, oral intake status, nutritional status, and physical function were extracted from the medical records. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to identify perioperative risk factors related to sarcopenia 6 months after surgery. Results: Of the 134 patients, 34.3% were judged to be unable to start oral intake on swallowing assessment. At discharge, 30.6% received tube feeding with or without oral intake. In the non-oral intake group on swallowing assessment, a significantly higher proportion of patients received tube feeding at discharge (p = 0.014). Preoperative BMI, postoperative handgrip strength, and tube feeding at discharge were independent risk factors for sarcopenia 6 months after esophagectomy in male patients. Conclusion: Tube feeding at discharge is significantly related to postoperative sarcopenia in patients with esophageal cancer. Identifying high-risk groups might allow early detection of malnutrition and provision of appropriate care.
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