Purpose: Sivelestat, a selective inhibitor of neutrophil elastase, has been reported to reduce acute lung injury associated with systemic inflammatory response syndrome. This study retrospectively investigated the effect of sivelestat on respiratory function in patients who underwent esophagectomy. Methods: Patients who underwent esophagectomy for thoracic esophageal cancer between 2005 and 2010 were included in this study. Forty-two were treated perioperatively with sivelestat (4.8 mg/kg/day; sivelestat group) and the remaining 35 were not (control group). Sivelestat was administered continuously from the beginning of surgery until postoperative day 3. All patients were administered methylprednisolone for 3 days. The perioperative clinical and laboratory data, total sequential organ failure assessment score, PaO 2/FiO2 ratio (P/F ratio) and postoperative complications were compared between the two groups. Results: There were no significant differences between the groups in the patients' background data. The P/F ratio immediately after surgery was significantly higher in the sivelestat group than in the control group (p < 0.05). The respiratory rate immediately after surgery and the temperature on postoperative day 2 were significantly lower in the sivelestat group than in the control group (p < 0.05). There were no differences in any of the other clinical data or complications. Conclusions: Perioperative administration of sivelestat improves postoperative respiratory function in patients after esophagectomy.
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