Esophageal stents are commonly used to treat benign esophageal conditions including refractory benign esophageal strictures, anastomotic strictures, fistulae, perforations and anastomotic leaks. Data on outcomes in these settings remain limited.
We performed a retrospective multicenter study of patients who underwent fully or partially covered self-expandable stent placement for benign esophageal diseases. Esophageal stent placements were performed for the following indications: (1) benign refractory esophageal strictures, (2) surgical anastomotic strictures, (3) esophageal perforations, (4) esophageal fistulae, and (5) surgical anastomotic leaks.
A total of 70 patients underwent esophageal stent placement for benign esophageal conditions. A total of 114 separate procedures were performed. The most common indication for esophageal stent placement was refractory benign esophageal stricture (48.2%). Global treatment success rate was 55.7%. Treatment success rate was 33.3% in refractory benign strictures, 23.1% in anastomotic strictures, 100% in perforations, 71.4% in fistulae, and 80% in anastomotic leaks. Stent migration was noted in 28 of 70 patients (40%), most commonly seen in refractory benign strictures.
This is one of the largest studies to date of esophageal stents to treat benign esophageal diseases. Success rates are lowest in benign esophageal strictures. These patients have few other options beyond chronic dilations, feeding tubes, and surgery, and fully covered self-expandable metallic stent give patients a chance to have their problem fixed endoscopically and still eat by mouth. Perforations, fistulas, and leaks respond very well to esophageal stenting, and stenting should be considered as a first-line therapy in these settings.