Infections related to airway stenting: a systematic review

Respiration. 2009;78(1):69-74. doi: 10.1159/000213244. Epub 2009 Apr 10.


Background: Airway stenting is nowadays an established method for the palliative and/or curative treatment of central airways obstruction. However, complications related to the use of airway stents have been reported.

Objective: We endeavored to systematically evaluate the currently available evidence regarding the infections associated with airway stenting.

Methods: We independently searched in PubMed for relevant reports. We considered articles which reported on clinical infections related to airway stenting. A case was identified as stent-associated respiratory tract infection (SARTI) according to the authors of the individual papers, based on clinical findings with or without radiological or microbiological confirmation.

Results: Twenty-three articles (19 cohorts/case series and 4 case reports), involving 501 patients with airway stents, were included. The indication for airway stenting was malignancy and benign disease in 45 and 55% of the included patients, respectively. Ninety-three (19%) out of the 501 stented patients experienced SARTI. Pneumonia was the most common type of SARTI (47%), followed by bronchial infection (24%), cavitary pneumonia/lung abscess and intraluminal fungus ball. Staphylococcus aureus (39%) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (28%) were the most commonly identified pathogens. Twenty-six (68%) out of the 38 patients with SARTI, for whom outcome data were available, died.

Conclusion: The accumulated and evaluated evidence suggests that SARTI probably involves 1 in 5 patients with airway stent. Although the possibility of SARTI should not discourage the interventional pneumologists from inserting airway stents, the data seem to underline the urgent need for establishing a consensus definition and diagnostic criteria for SARTI.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / drug therapy
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / microbiology*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / mortality
  • Stents / adverse effects*


  • Anti-Infective Agents