Multidisciplinary airway stent team: a comprehensive approach and protocol for tracheobronchial stent treatment

L M Jones, E A Mair, T M Fitzpatrick, R D Lyon, I M Feuerstein
Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology 2000, 109 (10 Pt 1): 889-98
Tracheobronchial stents are being used with increasing frequency to treat major airway obstruction from both malignant and benign processes. Traditionally, stents have been placed via rigid bronchoscopy, flexible bronchoscopy, or fluoroscopy by members of various individual disciplines. We describe a novel multidisciplinary airway stent team (MAST) protocol for tracheobronchial stent placement and endoscopic management of major airway obstruction. A patient with symptoms of airway obstruction is generally first evaluated with a computed tomography scan and a videotaped flexible bronchoscopy. These studies are reviewed by the team otolaryngologist, pulmonologist, and interventional radiologist. A treatment plan, including the type and location of stents and the need for adjuvant therapies, is formulated. Stent placement is performed in the operating room under general anesthesia. Rigid bronchoscopy, with flexible bronchoscopy and fluoroscopy as needed, allows precise stent placement and the best use of various therapeutic methods. The MAST protocol combines the skills, knowledge, and unique therapeutic options of specialists from otolaryngology, pulmonology, and interventional radiology. This approach allows optimal stent placement and the use of other endobronchial therapies, including laser ablation, balloon dilation, photodynamic therapy, cryotherapy, and brachytherapy. A protocol with representative case reports is presented, along with a review and comparison of several of our most commonly used stents. Otolaryngologists who practice bronchoesophagoscopy, by virtue of their operative skill and knowledge of airway management, are well equipped to become leaders of MASTs and are encouraged to initiate MASTs at their institutions.

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