BACKGROUND: Patients with esophageal cancer suffer from anxiety in the perioperative period surrounding esophagectomy; this may increase the risk of postoperative complications. In particular, postoperative aspiration pneumonia carries a high risk of hospital mortality. Bukuryoingohangekobokuto (BRIHK) is a traditional Japanese medicine formula used to treat anxiety, the feeling of a foreign body in the esophagus, and water brash. We hypothesize that BRIHK might be effective for both anxiety and water brash in perioperative patients with esophageal cancer. The aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy and safety of BRIHK compared to a placebo for anxiety and water brash in perioperative esophageal cancer patients. METHOD/DESIGN: This will be a single-center, single blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial. Twenty-four patients with esophageal cancer undergoing radical resection surgery will be registered to participate, then randomly and blindly assigned to the BRIHK treatment group or control group. Patients will be administered BRIHK or the placebo from 2 weeks before to 6 weeks after surgery. Primary outcome measures will be anxiety and depression (assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), and water brash (assessed using the 10-item Eating Assessment Tool, Esophagus and Stomach Surgery Symptom Scale, and videofluoroscopy swallowing measurement). Incidences of aspiration pneumonia will be noted and abdominal gas volume, inflammatory markers, and nutrition status will be evaluated. DISCUSSION: This investigative study will provide clinical evidence of BRIHK administration for anxiety and water brash, which might improve mental distress and reduce postoperative mortality. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The protocol and progress are registered on the Japan Registry of Clinical Trials (jRCT s021190001) and University Hospital Medical Information Network (UMIN000031330). The protocol was approved by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare certified clinical research review board, Tohoku University (CRB2180001).
ASJC Scopus subject areas