Introduction: The Polyflex stent (Boston Scientific; Boston, MA) is a self-expanding, thin-walled, silicone stent. Its use has been described in the management of patients with malignant airway obstruction, yet reports of its use for treatment of benign airway conditions are rare.
Study: We report a retrospective review of our experience with the Polyflex stent in the management of benign airway conditions.
Results: A total of 16 stents were deployed in 12 patients. The indications for the stent placement included the following: anastomotic stenosis following lung transplantation (LTR) [four patients]; tracheal stenosis (three patients); tracheobronchomalacia (two patients); tracheobronchopathiaosteochondroplastica (one patient); relapsing polychondritis (one patient); and bronchopleural fistula (one patient). Even though immediate palliation was established in most cases (90%), the incidence of complications was 75%. Stent migration was the most common consequence, with time to the event ranging from < 24 h to 7 months. One stent was expectorated within < 24 h. One patient coughed up a portion of the inner lining of the stent 7 months after its placement. Emergent bronchoscopy was required in four patients for mucous impaction. The complication rate was 100% in patients with LTR-related anastomotic stenosis.
Conclusion: The use of the Polyflex stent for the treatment of benign airway conditions is associated with a high complication rate. We have abandoned its use under such conditions in our practice.