Two hundred and twenty six tracheobronchial stents were placed in 173 patients for benign (N=33) and malignant (N=140) disease from January 1,1997 to May 31,2003. Although tracheobronchial stents are widely established in malignant disease as a palliative measure, their use in benign disease is controversial. The concern of long-term complications has been a deterrent to their use. We sought to identiy the benefits and risks of airway stents in selected patients with benign disease.
We retrospectively analyzed all tracheobronchial stents placed in patients aged 50±18 years old with benign disease from January 1, 1997 to May 31,2003. The stents placed were self-expandable metal (N=48) and rigid (N=6). The patient’s diagnosis included anastomotic stricture s/p lung transplantation(N=12), tracheomalacia(N=10), bronchomalacia(N=2), sarcoid(N=2), trauma(N=1), respiratory failure(N=2), tracheal stenosis(N=2), and bronchial stenosis(N=2).
Eleven complications were identified in 54 stents placed in 33 patients with benign disease and included excessive granulation tissue(N=5), restenosis of stent(N=5), and migration of stent(N=1). The mean follow-up period was 604 days (range, 0-2673days). The complications required intervention including stent dilations(N=5), stent laser debridement(N=3), and stent removal(N=3).
Tracheobronchial stents offer minimally invasive therapy for selected patients with benign disease with low complication risk. The major impediment is excessive granulation tissue formation and restenosis of stent often requiring intervention.
Airway stents provide symptomatic improvement to patients with benign airway disease, and function as a bridge until more definitive treatment can be offered.
A. Lemaire, None.