Background: The use of self-expanding metal stents for palliation of malignant dysphagia is increasing. Experience in 70 patients was reviewed with respect to the value of stenting and management of the complications encountered.
Methods: Oesophageal stents were inserted in 70 patients (42 men) of mean age 73 years with malignant oesophageal obstruction. Data regarding stent insertion and degree of dysphagia were gathered prospectively.
Results: Seventy-six stents were placed in 70 patients. By the end of the study 57 patients had died and 13 were still alive. Three patients died within 3 days of stent insertion and dysphagia was relieved in 64 of the 67 patients remaining. Stent migration, tumour ingrowth and overgrowth, and food impaction were encountered during follow-up in eight patients.
Conclusion: Insertion of self-expanding metal stents for the palliation of malignant oesophageal obstruction is a successful therapy which can be carried out with relative ease. Palliation of dysphagia with an appropriate stent can be expected in up to 95 per cent of patients.