Background and Goals:
Using a self-expandable metallic stent (SEMS) in the cervical esophagus is controversial due to an increased risk of complications. Here we assessed a new type of SEMS purpose-designed for the cervical esophagus area.
Patients with malignant or benign stenosis within 4 cm distance of the upper esophageal sphincter who underwent placement of a SEMS with a shorter proximal head (Niti-S Esophageal Covered Stent—Cervical-type, NSECSC), were included. Main outcome measures were the functional outcome, tolerance, complications, recurrent dysphagia, and survival.
About 37 patients had an NSECSC placed between April 2008 and June 2013 for esophageal stenosis (malignant=20, benign=17), 5 with associated tracheoesophageal fistula. The mean stenosis-upper esophageal sphincter distance was 1.86±1.27 cm. The median follow-up was 150 days. Dysphagia improved in 27/37 cases (73%). Short-term and long-term tolerance without needing stent removal was 92% and 82%, respectively. The complication rate was 59% (22/37): 32% (n=14) major complications [fistula (3), perforation (3), aspiration pneumonia (5), laryngeal dyspnea (2), and bleeding (1)], and 27% (n=10) minor complications [pain (7) or dysphonia (3)]. A multivariate analysis confirmed a higher risk of major complications in cases of benign stenosis (odds ratio=5.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.05-25.90; P=0.04). Recurrent dysphagia occurred in 15 patients (obstruction=7, migration=8).
The NSECSC does not appear less morbid than standard SEMS in the cervical esophageal area, but could be useful in malignant indications as it is well-tolerated and offers effective palliation of the dysphagia. However, this device should not be used in benign cervical esophageal strictures or fistulas.