Background: Biodegradable (BD) oesophageal stents have been available commercially only since 2008 and previous published research is limited. Our aim was to review the use of BD stents to treat dysphagia in benign or malignant oesophageal strictures.
Methods: Patients were identified from a prospective interventional radiological database. BD stents were inserted radiologically under fluoroscopic control.
Results: Between July 2008 and February 2011, 25 attempts at placing SX-ELLA biodegradable oesophageal stents were made in 17 males and five females, with a median age of 69 (range = 54-80) years. Two patients required more than one BD stent. Indications were benign strictures (n = 7) and oesophageal cancer (n = 17). One attempt was unsuccessful for a technical success rate of 96% with no immediate complications. Clinical success rate was 76%. Median dysphagia score before stent insertion was 3 (range = 2-4) compared to 2 (range = 0-3) after stent insertion (p = 0.0001).
Conclusion: BD stents provide good dysphagia relief for the life time of the stent. They may help avoid the use of feeding tubes in patients having radical chemoradiotherapy or awaiting oesophagectomy. They do not require removal or interfere with radiotherapy planning via imaging. However, the reintervention rate is high after the stent dissolves.