Objective: The method used to achieve bronchial closure, especially the relative merits of sutured versus stapled closure, remains an important topic among thoracic surgeons who seek the best way to prevent postoperative bronchopleural fistula (BPF) formation. Methods: Bronchial closure in 533 consecutive stumps in pulmonary resection from 1995 to 1997 at the National Cancer Center Hospital, Tokyo, was reviewed in terms of the incidence of troubles related to mechanical stapling (stapling failure) and to BPF formation. Fifty stumps (9%) were closed by manual suturing and 483 (91%) by mechanical stapling. For stapling, endostaplers were used for 313 stumps (65%), and other types of conventional staplers for 170 stumps (35%). Results: There were 18 stapling failures (a 3.7% overall incidence, 4.8% for endostaplers, 1.8% for other types of staplers). However, of these 18 patients only one developed BPF after surgery. Seven BPFs developed postoperatively among the 533 closures (overall incidence, 1.3%): two after manual suturing (4%) and five after stapling (1%), and this difference was not statistically significant. Of seven patients with BPF, four died of BPF-related complications. Conclusions: Although bronchial closure by stapling was accompanied by failure, its incidence was acceptable and was not directly associated with the development of BPF postoperatively, as long as properly repaired. Newly developed endostaplers had similar incidence of stapling failure and BPF formation compared with other types of conventional staplers. These results suggest endostaplers can be used safely for various types of bronchial closure. The advantage of such devices could be the least chance of pollution of the operative field, simultaneous performance of stapling and division by one motion, and subsequently great saving of time. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
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