The aim of this retrospective study was to present and compare the results of using two different types of esophageal self-expanding stents (uncovered and covered) for palliative treatment of patients with inoperable malignant stenosis of the esophagus and cardia. Over a period of 8 years, 152 patients underwent fluoroscopically guided insertion of metal esophageal stents. We inserted uncovered esophageal nitinol Strecker stents in 54 patients (group I) and covered esophageal Ultraflex stents in the remaining 98 patients (group II). The stent insertion procedure was successively performed in all patients. Closure of esophageal fistula by covered stents was achieved in 8/8 patients. Mean dysphagia score was significantly decreased in both patient groups at 4 weeks follow-up: from 2.73 before stent insertion to 0.15 in group I, and from 2.67 to 0.05 in group II (on 0-4 scale). Eighty-eight per cent of patients with covered stents and 54% with uncovered type were free of symptoms during follow-up. Complications occurring during follow-up and their comparative frequency in the two groups of patients were as follows (group I: group II%): stent migration (0:10%); tumor or granulation tissue ingrowth (100:53%); overgrowth at the ends of stents (17:30%); restenosis causing recurrent dysphagia (37:8%); and appearance of esophageal fistulas (8:6%). In conclusion, fluoroscopically guided insertion of self-expandable esophageal stents is a safe and comfortable method of palliation for patients suffering with malignant dysphagia. In selection of a stent, covered types should be given priority for prevention of restenosis.