Stent placement in superior vena cava syndrome

Patrick Courtheoux, Barbara Alkofer, Madjed Al Refaï, Radj Gervais, Jean Philippe Le Rochais, Philippe Icard
Annals of Thoracic Surgery 2003, 75 (1): 158-61

BACKGROUND: Superior vena cava syndrome (SVCS) is often seen in the natural history of malignant thoracic diseases. SVCS is characterized by unpleasant symptoms that usually lead to death. The purpose of our study is to show the efficiency of percutaneous stenting in the superior vena cava for relieving SVCS and the possibility of repeated stenting after recurrence.

METHODS: Twenty patients with SVCS caused by malignant diseases who had one or more stents placed in the superior vena cava or its main tributaries were evaluated.

RESULTS: Out of 20 patients, 1 died of myocardial infarction 24 hours after the procedure without any signs of pulmonary embolus, hemorrhage, or malposition of the stent. SVCS was successfully controlled in 94% of patients until death or completion of the study. In 3 patients the procedure was repeated (3 to 20 weeks later) because of the recurrence of symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Percutaneous venous stent placement in the superior vena cava is a simple and effective technique to relieve rapid SVCS caused by malignancies. When recurrence occurs, repeated stenting can be performed successfully.

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