Stents are used for palliation of symptoms of central airway obstruction caused by either malignant or benign conditions. Stents may be applied for maintaining airway patency after dilatation of postinflammatory and infectious strictures, for airway dehiscence after lung transplantation, and for the management of tracheobronchomalacia. Fistulas between trachea or bronchi and the esophagus and dehiscence of pneumonectomy stump can be protected with covered stents. Choice of stent depends on careful patient selection, characteristics of airway stenosis, physician's expertise, and availability of equipment. Placement of tube stents requires rigid bronchoscopy and dilatation of strictures beforehand, whereas metal stents can be applied using a flexible bronchoscope. Advantages and disadvantages of commonly used airway stents are discussed.
Copyright 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.