Esophageal cancer is ranked as the malignant tumor with the 6th highest morbidity and mortality rate worldwide. Chinese people are prone to develop esophageal cancer, and the number of new cases that occur every year account for more than half of the esophageal cancer patients worldwide (1,2). Although reports have confirmed the effectiveness of chemoradiotherapy for esophageal cancer, esophageal resection remains the primary means of treatment. Anastomotic leaks and pulmonary complications are the most common postoperative complications of esophageal cancer and carcinoma of the gastric cardia. Pulmonary complications have become more noticeable (3) as the incidence of postoperative anastomotic fistula (8–15%) has decreased due to the improvement of surgical techniques, the use of disposable staplers, and the continuous improvement of postoperative nutritional support Cervical and upper thoracic esophageal cancer are associated with a higher risk for postoperative pulmonary infection.