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Ann Thorac Surg. 2000 Apr;69(4):1030-4.

Long-term safety and tolerance of silicone and self-expandable airway stents: an experimental study.

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Department of Surgery, University of Perugia Medical School, Italy.



A variety of respiratory stents are currently available, but the ideal airway prosthesis seems far from being recognized. The objective of this study was to verify safety and long-term effect on the bronchial wall of three different types of airway stents.


Twelve healthy adult sheep were divided in three groups, scheduled to receive: (1) bare self-expandable metallic stents (Gianturco); (2) silicone stents (Dumon); and (3) covered self-expandable synthetic stents (Polyflex). Insertions were performed through a rigid bronchoscope under general anesthesia. Chest roentgenogram was performed 1 and 6 months after surgery, and flexible bronchoscopy after 6 months. Twelve months postoperatively, the animals were killed and a postmortem examination was carried out.


All Polyflex stents migrated during the observation period; one late migration was observed in the Dumon group. Microscopic study showed: (1) Gianturco stents: full-thickness perforation of the bronchial wall covered by a thick layer of a chronic inflammatory infiltrate. Infection by Candida at the bottom of some ulcerations; (2) Dumon stents: mild bronchial inflammation (squamous metaplasia, submucosal inflammatory infiltrates; granuloma-like infiltrates). In case of displacement, no significant changes of the previously stented bronchus occurred; and (3) Polyflex stents: no changes of the previously stented bronchi.


Gianturco stents proved unsafe in the long term, owing to the risk of severe airway wall damage. The Polyflex stent is well tolerated but presents a high migration rate. Silicone stents show several limitations but appear to be well tolerated by the host mucosa.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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