[Self-expanding metal stents for palliation of malignant oesophageal obstruction]

Balázs Tolmácsi, Kálmán Rábai, Tamás Szamosi, Zsófia Czeglédi, Tibor Gyökeres, Ferenc Zsigmond, János Banai
Magyar Sebészet 2009, 62 (2): 59-66

BACKGROUND: Malignant oesophageal stenosis can be caused by cancer of the oesophagus, gastric cardia, lungs, mediastinum or, rarely, breast. Most of these cases are inoperable due to advanced stage of the disease, comorbidities or age of the patients; and palliative treatment can be applied only. The quality of life is mostly determined by the extent of dysphagia. Several methods are available to palliate dysphagia. Hereby, the authors review their results with palliation of malignant oesophageal obstruction applying self-expanding metal stents.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: 68 endoscopic stent implantations were performed in 64 patients (15 female and 49 male) with malignant dysphagia between 2003 and 2008. After radiological investigations, distally deployed covered stents with or without an antireflux valve were placed, depending on the localization of the tumour. In one patient with a stenosis localized in the upper third of the oesophagus a proximally deployed covered stent was used. The aim was to re-establish oral nutrition and cover possible fistulas.

RESULTS: Significant improvement of swallowing was detected in every patient. Average dysphagia score has improved from 3.2 to 1.7. Technical difficulties during stenting occurred in a relatively low percentage of patients only (2 in 68; i.e. 2.94%). Fistulas were covered in every case. Early stent migration (<7 days) happened in one case. One patient suffered non-fatal myocardial infarction two days after stent placement. In 5 cases tumour in- and overgrowth, in 4 cases bleeding was seen as late complications. Oesophago-tracheal fistula was noted in three patients after stent implantation. Late stent migration (>7 days) occurred in two patients. Re-stenting was necessary in four cases, while three patients needed an upper GI endoscopy for cleansing the stent caused by food obstruction.

CONCLUSIONS: According to our data self-expanding metal stents are highly effective and safe for improving dysphagia. Stent-related complications are relatively rare. This method is highly recommended for palliation of malignant dysphagia.

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