Background: There are no data regarding the factors influencing the choice of therapeutic bronchoscopic modality in the management of malignant airway stenoses.
Objectives: To assess the choice of therapeutic bronchoscopy modality and analyze factors influencing survival in patients with malignant central airway obstruction.
Materials and methods: We performed 167 procedures in 130 consecutive patients, for malignant central airway obstruction, over six years.
Results: Laser was used either alone or in combination with stent insertion in 76% procedures. Laser only was used in 53% procedures for lesions below the main bronchi. Stents alone were used for extrinsic compression or stump insufficiency. Combined laser and stent insertion was most frequently used for lesions involving the trachea plus both main bronchi or only the main bronchi. The Dumon stent was preferred in lesions of the trachea and the right bronchial tree, the Ultraflex stent for lesions on the left side and stenoses below the main bronchi. Survival was better in patients with lung cancer, lesions restricted to one lung and when laser alone was used compared to esophageal cancer, metastases and tracheal involvement.
Conclusion: The choice of different airway stents can be made based on the nature and site of the lesion. Dumon stents are suited for lesions in trachea and right main bronchus and the Ultraflex stents on the left side and stenoses beyond the main bronchi. Survival can be estimated based on the diagnosis, site of the lesion and treatment modality used.