OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this article is to assess the technical and clinical outcomes of metallic stent placement in strictures and fistulas involving the carina.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of patients who had undergone stenting for disease involving the carina. We initially reviewed the symptoms, underlying causes, and the types of stent configuration used. We also assessed the technical success rate of stenting, its effectiveness in achieving symptomatic relief, the incidence of stent-related complications, and stent patency.
RESULTS: Thirty-two stenting procedures were performed in 23 patients (mean age, 56.3 years) for the treatment of strictures (n = 21), an esophagorespiratory fistula (n = 1), or both (n = 1) present in the carina. Three cases were associated with benign causes, whereas 20 were related to malignancies. Dyspnea was the most common symptom (n = 22). We placed metallic stents in four different configurations, among which placement in juxtacarinal segments was the most common configuration (n = 23). Technical success was achieved in 96.9% of cases, and symptomatic improvement was observed in 90.6% of cases. Stent-related complications were observed after 10 procedures (31.3%). Stent obstruction occurred in seven patients (21.9% of procedures), most commonly because of tumor progression. The mean follow-up period was 83.1 days, during which time 15 patients died as a result of disease progression, five were discharged without hope for improvement, two were discharged without symptomatic recurrence, and one was lost to follow-up.
CONCLUSION: Airway stenting can be performed in the carina with high technical success using variable stent configurations. Although the rate of immediate symptomatic improvement is high, stent-related complications frequently occur.
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