Background: We examined the complications and outcomes of placing stents for both esophageal and tracheobronchial stenoses.
Methods: We placed stents for both esophageal and tracheobronchial stenoses in 8 patients (7 with esophageal cancer and 1 with lung cancer). Covered or noncovered metallic stents were used for the esophageal stenoses, except in 1 patient treated with a silicone stent. Silicone stents were used for the tracheobronchial stenoses. The grades of esophageal and tracheobronchial stenoses were scored.
Results: All patients experienced improvement of grades of both dysphagia and respiratory symptoms after stent therapy. The complications were: (1) 2 patients suffered respiratory distress after placement of the esophageal stent because of compression of the trachea by the stent; and (2) 3 patients developed new esophago-tracheobronchial fistulae, and 2 patients had recurring fistula symptoms because of growth of preexisting fistulae after the stent placement, which were caused by pressure from the 2 stents. Despite the fistulae, the 5 patients treated with covered metallic stents did not complain of fistula symptoms, but 2 patients treated with noncovered metallic or silicone stents did complain.
Conclusions: For patients with both esophageal and tracheobronchial stenoses, a stent should be introduced into the tracheobronchus first. Because placement of stents in both the esophagus and tracheobronchus has a high risk of enlargement of the fistula, a covered metallic stent is preferable for esophageal cancer involving the tracheobronchus.