Clinical outcomes following self-expanding metal stent placement for esophageal salvage

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To assess the efficacy of self-expanding metal stents (SEMS) for esophageal salvage in patients who would otherwise require esophageal/conduit resection.


We performed a retrospective chart review of patients who had SEMS placed from January 2010 to December 2015. Patient demographics, esophageal stent characteristics, and outcomes were assessed in our patient cohort.


Our study included a total of 83 patients. A total of 148 SEMS were placed, with 121 partially covered SEMS (pcSEMS) and 27 fully covered SEMS (cSEMS). A stent was placed more than once in 42.2% of the patients. Median duration of stent placement was 23 days. Indications for SEMS placement included esophageal leak after esophageal resection (45.8%), spontaneous esophageal perforation (22.9%), iatrogenic esophageal perforation (20.5%), and esophageal obstruction (9.6%). Complications from SEMS placement included 6 stent migrations and 1 esophageal perforation. Of the 6 stents that migrated, 2 were pcSEMS and 4 were cSEMS. In a patient who underwent stent placement for a stricture refractory to dilation, a perforation at the distal end was discovered 2 days after stent removal. The perforation healed after the second SEMS placement. Ultimately, 15 patients (18.1%) had to undergo a subsequent esophagectomy or takedown of their conduit with an overall 81.9% salvage of native esophagus or conduits.


Our study demonstrates the successful use of SEMS in patients with anastomotic leaks, perforations, and recalcitrant strictures.

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