Esophageal stent placement for the treatment of a perforation, anastomotic leak, or fistula has been adopted by some thoracic surgeons. Results have been reported for this technique, but little discussion has focused on treatment failures. This analysis reviews patients in whom esophageal stent placement was not successful in an attempt to identify factors that may increase the likelihood of failure of this technique. Patients undergoing esophageal stent placement for the treatment of an esophageal perforation, anastomotic leak, or fistula in which the stent failed to adequately seal the esophageal leak were identified from a single institution's database. The anatomic location, chronicity, and cause of the esophageal leak were recorded using a newly developed classification system. Comparison was made to patients in whom stent placement was successful. Over a 7-year period, 187 patients had an esophageal stent placed for esophageal leaks. Fifteen (8%) of these patients required traditional operative repair when the esophageal stent failed to resolve the esophageal leak after an average of 3 days. A comparison of the 2 patient groups found that stent failure was significantly more frequent in patients who had an esophageal leak of the proximal cervical esophagus, 1 that traversed the gastroesophageal junction, an esophageal injury longer than 6 cm, or an anastomotic leak associated with a more distal conduit leak (p < 0.05). Malignancy or previous radiation therapy was not associated with treatment failure. This investigation identified 4 factors that significantly reduce the effectiveness of esophageal stent placement for the treatment of esophageal perforation, fistula, or anastomotic leak. These potential contraindications should be considered when developing a treatment plan for individual patients and may prompt traditional operative repair as initial therapy. © 2012 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
Freeman, R. K., Ascioti, A. J., Giannini, T., & Mahidhara, R. J. (2012). Analysis of unsuccessful esophageal stent placements for esophageal perforation, fistula, or anastomotic leak. Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 94(3), 959–965. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2012.05.047