Clinical outcomes of using a conservative approach of late esophageal stent placement in palliation of malignant dysphagia

Krishdeep Singh Chadha, Michael Schiff, Michael D Sitrin, Gregory E Wilding, Hector Nava
Journal of Gastrointestinal Cancer 2010, 41 (3): 173-8

BACKGROUND: Esophageal stents have been used as first-line treatment for palliation of malignant dysphagia, but this is associated with significant complications. The present study evaluated clinical outcomes and survival in patients with malignant dysphagia with esophageal stent placement who did not respond to prior chemoradiation or endoscopic modalities.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients with esophageal cancer, who had esophageal stents, were retrospectively reviewed from the electronic medical records. The patient demographics, type of stent placed, dysphagia scores, stent-related complications, and survival were recorded.

RESULTS: Thirty-five patients with esophageal cancer received a total of 41 stents. There were 25 males and 10 females with mean age of 69.8 years. Twenty-two patients had esophageal adenocarcinoma, ten patients had squamous cell carcinoma, and three had poorly differentiated tumor. Esophageal malignancy was early stage (I, II) in 10 patients and advanced (III, IV) in 24 patients. Three patients had upper esophageal involvement, eight patients had mid-esophageal involvement; distal esophageal malignancy was present in 24 patients with 10 patients having gastroesophageal junction involvement. Six patients presented with tracheoesophageal fistula. Nine patients had prior esophagectomy. Thirty-three patients had chemoradiation, and 32 patients had other endoscopic therapies previously. Twelve of the 35 (33%) patients developed stent-related complications; nine patients had dysphagia due to various causes; one patient each developed aspiration, intractable hiccups, and intractable vomiting after stent placement, respectively. Nine patients underwent a repeat esophagogastroduodenoscopy. Development of stent-related complications was not significantly associated with poor survival.

CONCLUSIONS: The clinical outcomes for patients with esophageal stent placement for malignant dysphagia after chemoradiation and other endoscopic treatments is not worse than that reported in patients where esophageal stent placement was used as first-line treatment.

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