Background: This study evaluated the efficacy and the complications associated with the use of the covered Wallstent in the setting of unresectable malignant biliary obstruction.
Methods: Between March 2001 and January 2003, all patients with distal malignant biliary obstruction that required drainage were treated with a covered Wallstent. Every 2 months, the patients were evaluated clinically and biochemical tests of liver function were obtained. Data were recorded for the following variables: early complications (within 30 days of stent placement), early and late stent occlusion, duration of stent patency, need for subsequent biliary intervention, and patient survival.
Results: A total of 88 covered Wallstents were inserted in 80 patients. Stent patency rates at 3, 6, and 12 months were 90%, 82%, and 78%, respectively. Complications included stent migration (5), stent occlusion (12), episodes of cholecystitis (3), and episodes of post-ERCP pancreatitis (5). Biliary intervention was required in 9 patients subsequent to placement of the initial covered Wallstent.
Conclusions: Deployment of a covered Wallstent is safe and relatively easy. It achieves biliary drainage with an acceptable risk to benefit ratio in the majority of patients with distal malignant biliary obstruction.