Objective: Oesophageal self-expanding metal endoprostheses (SEMS, or stents) are recognized as a safe means of palliating dysphagia caused by malignancy. Stent designs that have covered or uncovered walls are now available. The purpose of this study was to compare the outcome of use of these two designs.
Design: Thirty consecutive cases were reviewed. All the patients had been referred over a period of 25 months for palliation of dysphagia caused by malignant obstruction. Either a covered or an uncovered stent was placed in each patient. Palliation of dysphagia, 30 day mortality, mean survival time, and the number of endoscopic re-interventions required, were assessed.
Results: Uncovered Ultraflex stents were used in 14 patients, and Schneider Wallstents were used in 16 patients. Dysphagia improved by one grade or more in 69% of patients. The 30 day mortality was 27%, with an overall mean survival time of 99 days. There was no significant difference between the two groups for these three parameters. Ten patients needed a total of 28 repeat endoscopic procedures to maintain stent patency, with overall rates for each group of 1.64 procedures per patient, for uncovered stents, compared with 0.31 for covered stents (significant at the P < 0.05 level). The number of repeat procedures increased with survival time.
Conclusion: The use of covered self-expanding metal oesophageal endoprostheses is associated with a significant reduction in the need for endoscopic reintervention after stent placement.