Adverse impact of vascular stent "mass effect" on airways

Catheter Cardiovasc Interv. 2009 Jul 1;74(1):132-6. doi: 10.1002/ccd.21945.


Objectives: To report our experience with bronchial compression secondary to vascular stent implantation within the mediastinum of patients with congenital heart disease.

Background: Stents are routinely used to correct native and postsurgical vessel stenoses. However, the "mass effect" of stents on adjacent structures within the chest has not been consistently appreciated nor evaluated.

Methods: A retrospective review of patients who had stent implantation and subsequent computerized tomographic angiography (CTA) at Rady Children's Hospital was performed.

Results: From August 2005 to November 2007, 147 stents were implanted to correct vessel stenoses within the chests of 120 patients. Among these 120 patients, 21 had CT angiograms performed after stent implantation. Clinical indications for poststent CT imaging included inability to wean from ventilator support, significant coughing episodes, continued hypoxia, and follow-up study after complex repairs. Six of the twenty one patients (29%) had adverse mass effects from stents causing compression of adjacent bronchial structures. Two of the six patients expired. One patient required a tracheostomy, two patients were slow to wean from the ventilator, while one was clinically asymptomatic. Five of the six patients had had an aortic arch anomaly with subsequent arch reconstruction or hybrid intervention.

Conclusions: Stent implantation in vascular structures within the chest may have adverse mass effects on adjacent bronchial structures. Clinical sequelae may range from silent to catastrophic. Pre-and/or poststent implantation imaging of vascular structures and airways should be considered in selected patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Airway Obstruction / diagnostic imaging
  • Airway Obstruction / etiology*
  • Airway Obstruction / mortality
  • Airway Obstruction / therapy
  • Bronchial Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Bronchial Diseases / etiology*
  • Bronchial Diseases / mortality
  • Bronchial Diseases / therapy
  • Catheterization / adverse effects*
  • Catheterization / instrumentation
  • Catheterization / mortality
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Constriction, Pathologic
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / mortality
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stents / adverse effects*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Tracheostomy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Malformations / diagnostic imaging
  • Vascular Malformations / mortality
  • Vascular Malformations / therapy*
  • Ventilator Weaning