Rate of Organ Space Infection Is Reduced with the Use of an Air Leak Test During Major Hepatectomies

H. S. Tran Cao, V. Phuoc, H. Ismael, J. W. Denbo, G. Passot, S. Yamashita, C. Conrad, T. A. Aloia, J. N. Vauthey

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5 Scopus citations


Background: Organ/space surgical site infections (OSIs) constitute an important postoperative metric. We sought to assess the impact of a previously described air leak test (ALT) on the incidence of OSI following major hepatectomies. Methods: A single-institution hepatobiliary database was queried for patients who underwent a major hepatectomy without biliary-enteric anastomosis between January 2009 and June 2015. Demographic, clinicopathologic, and intraoperative data—including application of ALT—were analyzed for associations with postoperative outcomes, including OSI, hospital length of stay (LOS), morbidity and mortality rates, and readmission rates. Results: Three hundred eighteen patients were identified who met inclusion criteria, of whom 210 had an ALT. ALT and non-ALT patients did not differ in most disease and treatment characteristics, except for higher rates of trisegmentectomy among ALT patients (53 vs. 34 %, p = 0.002). ALT patients experienced lower rates of OSI and 90-day morbidity than non-ALT patients (5.2 vs. 13.0 %, p = 0.015 and 24.8 vs. 40.7 %, p = 0.003, respectively). In turn, OSI was the strongest independent predictor of longer LOS (OR = 4.89; 95 % CI, 2.80–6.97) and higher rates of 30- (OR = 32.0; 95 % CI, 10.9–93.8) and 45-day readmissions (OR = 29.4; 95 % CI, 10.2–84.6). Conclusions: The use of an intraoperative ALT significantly reduces the rate of OSI following major hepatectomy and may contribute to lower post-discharge readmission rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-93
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Air leak test
  • Major hepatectomy
  • Organ/space surgical site infection
  • Readmission

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