Purpose: The authors describe their experience with expanding metallic stents for the palliation of malignant dysphagia.
Materials and methods: During a 52-month period, 138 stents were inserted in 121 patients with malignant esophageal obstruction. The average age was 74 years; there were 78 men and 43 women. Data regarding the degree of initial dysphagia, presence of an esophago-respiratory fistula, effect of stent placement on swallowing ability, complications at the time of stent placement, and long-term survival were obtained.
Results: An improvement in dysphagia symptoms was recorded in more than 95% of patients. The average survival after stent placement was 24 weeks. Complications necessitating further intervention occurred in 26 patients.
Conclusion: Insertion of self-expanding metallic endoprostheses for the palliation of malignant esophageal obstruction is an effective therapy that can be carried out with relative ease. Successful palliation of symptoms can be expected in more than 95% of cases.