[Efficacy and safety of argon plasma coagulation in the treatment of obstructive tracheobronchial stenosis]

Fa-guang Jin, De-guang Mu, Dong-ling Chu, En-qing Fu, Yong-hong Xie, Tong-gang Liu, Xing Gu
Zhonghua Zhong Liu za Zhi [Chinese Journal of Oncology] 2008, 30 (6): 462-4

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of argon plasma coagulation (APC) in the treatment of large airway obstruction.

METHODS: Totally 389 patients with treacheobronchial stenosis were treated with APC (ARCO3000 type) by bronchoscopy. The stenoses were caused by carcinomas (203 cases, 52.2%), metastatic tumors (67 cases, 17.2%), benign tumors (18 cases, 4.6%), granulomas (93 cases, 23.9%) and other lesions (8 cases, 2.1%). The rate of recanalization, relief of the symptoms, and complications were analyzed.

RESULTS: 1121 times of APC treatment were performed in the 389 patients. Complete recanalization was achieved in 138 cases (35.5%), partial in 143 (36.8%), mild in 55 (14.1%) and none in 53 (13.6%). The major complications included: super-ventricular tachycardia in 136 cases (34.9%), bleeding in 51 (13.1%), decrease in blood oxygen saturation in 48 (12.3%), asphyxia in 33 (8.5%), ventricular or super-ventricular arrhythmia in 24 (6.2%), short-term aggravation of airway obstruction in 18 (4.6%), and tracheal perforation in 3 (0.78%). All those complications were treated with various measures and no patient died of the complications during the procedure.

CONCLUSION: Argon plasma coagulation is effective and relatively safe in relieving the obstruction and dyspnea in patients with large airway obstruction caused by various reasons. However, for the patients with severe airway obstruction, argon plasma coagulation sometimes may cause severe or even lethal complications. Critical consideration of the indication, operators' skill and taking more precautions during the procedure are required to ensure the safety of argon plasma coagulation treatment.

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