While significant experience exists in placing airway stents, and knowledge of stent related complications is widespread, information is lacking regarding methods of surveillance and maintaining patency of these stents once deployed. Currently, there are no published recommendations or consensus opinion regarding maintenance of airway stents. The purpose of this investigation is to determine actual practice patterns used by interventional pulmonologists for airway stent maintenance.
We prospectively surveyed members of the American Association of Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology or attendees at their annual meeting during Chest 2008. An internet-based, IRB approved survey was distributed to all members from 10/08 to 12/08. Demographic data, frequency and type of airway stent placed, surveillance practices, complications seen, and medications used for maintenance were anonymously collected(SurveyMonkeyÖ), compiled in Microsoft Excel and analyzed using SPSS. Statistics were performed through the use of student's t test, chi square, and ANOVA as appropriate.
Of 270 possible subject surveys, 67 (24.8%) were returned. Of those, 62 (92.5%) were complete and were included in the analysis. Practice settings included University (50%), Single Specialty (27%), Community Academic (11%), and Multispe-cialty (11%). Annual placement of stents was ≤ 10 (31%); 11–30 (45%); > 30 (24%). Considerable variability existed in both medications used for maintenance (Table 1) and surveillance schedules (Table 2), and less than 50% protocolized post-placement management.
While stent placement is common among experienced Interventional Pulmonologists, half have no protocol for surveillance or maintenance. Likewise, there is no discernable consistency or standard practice pattern to monitor for or prevent stent failure. Further study is required to determine the best practices for post-deployment surveillance and maintenance of airway stents.
Development of best practice methods for surveillance and maintenance of airway stents may limit healthcare expenses and improve outcomes.
Mark Lund, Grant monies (from sources other than industry) Partial support for this project was provided by Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Eastern Regional Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA.; No Product/Research Disclosure Information