Objective: Endoscopic dilation is considered the best treatment for most cases of benign esophageal stricture, although the best dilation technique and the kind of stricture is the most amenable to treatment is still controversial. We report on our experience on a large series of patients treated by dilation without the aid of fluoroscopy and compare the results of this therapy among patients with strictures from different causes.
Methods: Between 1992 and 1997, we performed 1043 dilation sessions on 153 patients. Treatment was considered adequate if the esophageal lumen could be dilated up to the size of a 42F catheter. If the stricture recurred after initial successful treatment, the stricture was dilated again up to a 42F catheter.
Results: One hundred forty patients (96 men, 44 women; mean age, 54.1 yr) were followed-up for a mean of 20.5 months (4 to 62 months). Stricture's etiology was postsurgical in 80 patients, peptic in 37, caustic in 12, and from other causes in 11 patients. Adequate dilation was achieved in 93.5% of the patients (131 of 140). Patients with peptic strictures needed a median of three sessions to be adequately dilated during follow-up in comparison to five sessions among patients with postsurgical or caustic strictures (p = 0.07). There were four perforations, with one death (2.8% and 0.7% per patient and 0.4% and 0.1% per session, respectively).
Conclusions: Endoscopic dilation without the aid of fluoroscopy is safe and effective in relieving dysphagia caused by benign strictures of different causes, although repeated sessions are necessary because of stricture recurrence.