Background: Self-expanding metal stents are used routinely to palliate dysphagia due to oesophageal cancer.
Study aim: To compare the frequency of life-threatening complications after self-expanding metal stent insertion, depending on whether patients received prior chemoradiotherapy or no treatment.
Patients and methods: During 7 years, 116 consecutive patients were treated at a single centre in a palliative intent by insertion of self-expanding metal stent for dysphagia due to an oesophageal cancer. Patients were retrospectively separated into two groups: patients with chemoradiotherapy before self-expanding metal stent insertion (group 1, n = 56) and patients with no treatment before or after self-expanding metal stent insertion (group 2, n = 60). Life-threatening complications were compared and predictive risk factors of postprocedure complications were identified.
Results: Median dysphagia was significantly improved during the first month (grade 3 to grade 1 in the two groups). Early and late major complications occurred more frequently in group 1 (23.2% vs. 3.3%; P < 0.002 and 21.6% vs. 5.1%; P < 0.02 respectively). Prior chemoradiotherapy was the only independent predictive factor of postprocedure major complications, with an odds ratio of 5.59 (CI 95% 1.7-18.1).
Conclusions: Life-threatening complications after palliative self-expanding metal stent placement seem to occur more frequently in patients with prior chemoradiotherapy. Prevention of these severe complications should be considered before stenting.