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Treatment of oesophageal anastomotic leaks by temporary stenting with self‐expanding plastic stents. BJS 2009; 96: 887-891.

Published: 9th July 2009

Authors: Y. Y. Dai, S. Gretschel, O. Dudeck, B. Rau, P. M. Schlag, M. Hünerbein et al.

Background

Oesophageal anastomotic leakage is associated with considerable morbidity and mortality. The aim of the present study was to assess the feasibility of using temporary self‐expanding plastic stents to treat postoperative oesophageal leaks.

Method

Patients with anastomotic leakage after abdominothoracic oesophagectomy treated by endoscopic insertion of self‐expanding plastic stents between 2001 and 2007 were studied. Clinical outcomes were analysed, including healing of the leak, morbidity and mortality.

Results

Stents were inserted successfully in all 22 patients without procedure‐related complications. Ten patients also required computed tomography‐guided drainage because surgical drains had been removed. Non‐ventilated patients received oral nutrition a mean of 4 days after stent placement. Combined treatment with stenting and drainage resulted in resolution of the leak in 21 of 22 patients. The mean healing time (time to stent removal) was 23 days. Stent migration occurred in five of 22 patients, but endoscopic reintervention with placement of a new stent was successful in all patients. Repeat thoracotomy with intraoperative stent placement was necessary in one patient with an oesophagocolonic anastomosis. One patient died in hospital.

Conclusion

In combination with effective drainage, self‐expanding plastic stents are an option for the treatment of oesophageal anastomotic leaks, and may reduce leak‐related morbidity and mortality. Copyright © 2009 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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