Our Clinical Experience of Self-Expanding Metal Stent for Malignant Central Airway Obstruction

Akash Verma, Chee Kiang Phua, Qiu Mei Wu, Wen Yuan Sim, Audrey Wee Chuan Rui, Soon Keng Goh, Benjamin Ho, Ai Ching Kor, Andrew S. Y. Wong, Albert Y. H. Lim, Dessmon Y. H. Tai, John Abisheganaden


Background: We studied the safety, effectiveness, and limitations of airway stenting using self-expanding metal stent (SEMS) in patients with malignant central airway obstruction (CAO).

Methods: A retrospective review of records of patients undergoing SEMS placement for malignant CAO during year 2013 - 2014 was done.

Results: Sixteen patients (11 males and five females) underwent SEMS placement for malignant CAO. Median (range) age was 66 (54 - 78) years. No perioperative or immediate postoperative complications were seen except acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in one patient. Three patients were transferred to intensive care unit (ICU) for closer monitoring after the procedure and were discharged the next day. All four patients with lung atelectasis on presentation experienced complete re-expansion of the lung post-stenting. The dyspnea was substantially relieved in 14 (87.5%) patients. Two of the three patients who had been intubated were weaned off from the ventilator following stent insertion. Stent patency was maintained until death in all patients except one. Median survival from the date of diagnosis and the date of stent placement in lung cancer, esophageal cancer, and thyroid cancer were 140 (21 - 564) and 85 (15 - 361), 288 (80 - 419) and 61 (60 - 171), and 129 (71 - 187) and 67 (16 - 118) days, respectively. This survival was similar to reported expected survival associated with the underlying malignancy. During follow-up, granulation tissue (n = 1), mucostasis (n = 1), and tumor ingrowth (n = 2) were the most frequently encountered complications.

Conclusion: SEMSs are safe and effective in reversing respiratory failure caused by malignant CAO, averting premature death, allowing application of cancer targeted therapy, and restoring impending shortened survival to expected life expectancy associated with the underlying malignancy.

J Clin Med Res. 2017;9(1):58-63
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jocmr2811w


Lung cancer; Bronchoscopy; Central airway obstruction; Stent

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