Background and study aims: The current standard approach to the management of malignant gastric outlet obstruction mainly involves bypass surgery, which is associated with significant rates of mortality and morbidity. Recently, metal stents have emerged as a new therapeutic option. The aim of the present study was to review the currently published evidence on the effectiveness and safety of this form of endoscopic treatment.
Materials and methods: A systematic review of the published data was carried out by searching medline, embase, and abstracts from the major gastroenterological conferences from January 1992 to September 2003. A total of 136 relevant publications were identified (case series, single case reports, letters and editorials, or reviews). The systematic review included 32 case series from a total of 46 publications identified as reporting primary clinical data. Abstracts and single case reports were not taken into account. Analysis of these 32 case series included data on technical success (successful stent placement and deployment), clinical success (relief of symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, and/or improvement of food intake), and complications. Pooled results were calculated from the 32 studies (10 of which were prospective).
Results: Stent insertion was attempted in 606 patients with malignant symptomatic gastroduodenal obstruction; 94 % of the patients were unable to take food orally or were mainly ingesting liquids. Stent placement and deployment were successful in 589 of the patients (97 %). Clinical success was achieved in 526 patients in the group in which technical success was reported (89 %; 87 % of the entire group undergoing stenting). Disease-related factors accounted for the majority of clinical failures. Oral intake became possible in all of the patients in whom a successful procedure was carried out, with 87 % taking soft solids or a full diet, with final resolution of symptoms occurring after a mean of 4 days. There was no procedure-related mortality. Severe complications (bleeding and perforation) were observed in seven patients (1.2 %). Stent migration was reported in 31 patients (5 %). Stent obstruction occurred in 104 cases (18 %), mainly due to tumor infiltration. The mean survival period was 12.1 weeks.
Conclusions: Published evidence from case series suggests that gastroduodenal stenting offers good palliation and is a safe and effective treatment option in patients with a short remaining lifespan. However, patient selection for this intervention continues to be an issue requiring thorough consideration, and studies comparing the method with surgery are needed.