Background: Pancreatic stenting is a new nonsurgical treatment for patients with chronic pancreatitis and pain. We studied the long-term safety and efficacy of pancreatic stenting.
Methods: Between 1982 and 1993, 51 patients with chronic pancreatitis and persistent pain with dominant strictures in the pancreatic duct were treated with plastic pancreatic stents.
Results: Stent insertion was successful in 49 of 51 patients. Early complications occurred in 9 of the 51 patients (18%). Patients were followed for a median of 34 months (range 6 to 128). Nine of the 49 patients (82%) had clinical improvement. Sixteen of these 40 patients still had their stents in place. Stents were removed in 22 of the 40 patients with persistent beneficial response in all (median follow-up 28.5 months). The long-term effect of stenting could not be evaluated in the remaining 2 patients because they had a double bypass operation. Stent dysfunction occurred in 27 of the 49 patients (55%) and was successfully treated by exchanging the stent.
Conclusions: Pancreatic stenting was associated with minimal early complications, but stent dysfunction remained a frequent late complication. Pancreatic drainage resulted in clinical improvement in 40 of the 49 patients (82%). Twenty-two of these 40 patients maintained the beneficial response after stent removal (28.5 months).