Background: Silicone stent insertion is an alternative treatment for expiratory central airway collapse. This study evaluates the complications (mucus plugging, migration, and granulation tissue) associated with stenting in patients who failed medical therapy and were not surgical candidates.
Methods: Chart review from 15 consecutive patients treated by silicone stent insertion was done over a 2-year period. Outcomes included (1) changes in functional class, extent and severity of airway collapse (graded from 1 to 4 by using a multidimensional system), procedure- and stent-related complications at 48 hours after stent insertion; (2) frequency of stent-related complications; and (3) frequency of emergent flexible and rigid bronchoscopy (scheduled or emergent) over the follow-up period.
Results: Mean functional class and severity and extent of airway collapse significantly improved within 48 hours after treatment (p < 0.05). There were no perioperative deaths. Stent-related complications within 48 hours after stent insertion occurred in 3 patients (1 granulation, 1 migration, and 1 mucus plugging). The mean duration of follow-up for the 12 patients who underwent clinical and bronchoscopic follow-up was 188 days. Twenty-six stent-related complications (12 mucus plugs, 8 migrations, and 6 granulation tissues) were seen in 10 of the 12 patients. Five emergent flexible bronchoscopies and 14 rigid bronchoscopies (6 of which were emergent) were performed during the follow-up period.
Conclusions: Silicone stent insertion improves functional status immediately after intervention in patients with expiratory central airway collapse, but is associated with a high rate of stent-related complications and need for repeat bronchoscopic interventions.