• astric cancer;
  • total gastrectomy;
  • pancreatic fistula;
  • amylase


Background and Objectives

Measurement of amylase level in drainage fluid (D-AMY) is often performed for detection of pancreatic fistula (PF) formation after total gastrectomy. However, PF incidence has decreased and PF formation can be judged by changes in drainage fluid properties. The aim of study is to compare the significance of drainage fluid inspection for PF formation with D-AMY measurement.


PF incidence, drainage fluid properties, and D-AMY level in drainage fluid were investigated retrospectively in 173 patients undergoing total gastrectomy for gastric cancer. The sensitivity and specificity of changes in fluid properties for PF detection were compared to D-AMY measurement.


PF incidence in patients with dark-red colored drainage fluid (16/51) was higher than in those without dark-red fluid (0/122, P < 0.0001). The sensitivity and specificity of diagnosis by fluid properties were 100% and 77.7%, respectively. PF formation also correlated with D-AMY level, with sensitivity and specificity of diagnosis by D-AMY level of 5,000 U of 100% and 82.2%, respectively. There were no differences in the above parameters between the two diagnostic methods.


Drainage fluid inspection can provide accurate diagnosis of PF formation, similar to D-AMY measurement, suggesting that routine D-AMY measurement is probably not necessary in every patient. J. Surg. Oncol. 2011; 104:274–277. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.