Safety and effectiveness of vascular endoprosthesis for malignant superior vena cava syndrome

N P Nguyen, T L Borok, J Welsh, V Vinh-Hung
Thorax 2009, 64 (2): 174-8

BACKGROUND: Superior vena cava syndrome management has been traditionally radiation therapy, chemotherapy or chemoradiation, depending on the underlying malignancy involved and individual clinicopathological features of the case. Recent emergence of endovascular stents offer the opportunity for immediate relief of the venous stenosis. This review examines findings from the published series which used endovascular prosthesis for this syndrome with regards to efficacy and safety.

METHODS: Literature search identified studies using endovascular stents as initial therapy or for recurrence of malignant superior vena cava syndrome. Effectiveness and toxicity from stent placement was assessed.

RESULTS: Endovascular stent placement provides immediate haemodynamic relief of venous compression either before or after definitive therapy in the majority of cancer patients. Severe bleedings, cardiopulmonary complications and stent migrations remain significant problems for patient management.

CONCLUSIONS: Endovascular prosthesis is an effective modality for malignant superior vena cava syndrome with acceptable morbidity. Prospective studies should be performed to determine the optimal anticoagulation regimen.

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