Article Abstract

Safety and efficacy of airway stenting in patients with malignant oesophago-airway fistula

Authors: Janusz R. Włodarczyk, Jarosław Kużdżał


Background: Close anatomical relationships between the oesophagus and the bronchial tree can lead to the formation of oesophageal fistula particularly in patients with advanced lung or oesophageal carcinoma. Stenting is a most often used treatment in such patients, but data regarding the relative value of unilateral (US) vs. double stenting (DS) are scarce.
Methods: Retrospective analysis of hospital records of patients with oesophageal fistula who underwent stenting between 2008 and 2016. In those in whom airway stenosis was >30%, double stenting (oesophagus and bronchial tree) was performed, whereas in those with lesser airway stenosis unilateral stenting (i.e., oesophagus only) was performed. In all patients, the degree of dysphagia, the degree of dyspnoea and the quality of life were assessed before and after the stenting.
Results: There were 46 patients, analysed, including 26 who underwent DS and 20 patients who underwent US. Both, DS and US resulted in significant improvement of dysphagia (2.72 vs. 1.2, P=0.0001 and 2.65 vs. 1.0, P=0.0001), dyspnoea (2.89 vs. 0.34, P=0.0001 and 1.71 vs. 0.09, P=0.0001) and performance score (53.2 vs. 66.3, P=0.0001 and 54.3 vs. 62.38, P=0.0001). Neither fistula type, nor stenting method, weight loss and gain, and BMI, had an effect on survival (P=0.34). Disease progression and recurrence of fistula requiring re-intervention occurred in 9 patients (19.5%).
Conclusions: Double and unilateral stenting is an effective measure to alleviate dysphagia and dyspnoea in patients treated with malignant oesophageal fistula. In those with airway stenosis of ≤30%, stenting of the oesophagus only, instead of DS, is a safe method of treatment.