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Ann Thorac Surg. 2008 Jun;85(6):1968-72; discussion 1973. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2008.01.095.

Polyflex expandable stents in the treatment of esophageal disease: initial experience.

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1
Heart, Lung, and Esophageal Surgery Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The new generation of expandable plastic esophageal stents (Polyflex; Boston Scientific, Natick, MA), combine the features of plastic and self-expanding metallic stents. The main objective of this study is to evaluate our initial experience with Polyflex expandable stents in the treatment of esophageal disease from two institutions.

METHODS:

A total of 58 Polyflex stents were placed in 38 patients over a two-year period. There were 24 men and 14 women, with a median age of 63 years (range, 25 to 83). The most common indication for placement was an esophageal stricture in 25 patients (66%); other causes included leak in 8 (21%) and tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF) in 5 (13%). We evaluated the hospital course, complications, and outcomes.

RESULTS:

The median postoperative stay was one day. Complications included migration in 38 stents (63%) (28 patients; 73%), retrosternal chest discomfort in nine, reflux in four, airway obstruction in one, and food impaction in three. Continued leak or a persistent TEF occurred in five patients (38%). Reintervention was required predominantly due to migration of the stent at a mean interval of 46 days (range, 1 to 353). Patients with dysphagia improved significantly with dysphagia scores (1 = no dysphagia; 5 = unable to swallow saliva) improving from 3.44 to 2.15 (p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Polyflex stents were effective in the relief of dysphagia due to strictures. They were less effective in esophageal perforations or leaks. Their primary disadvantage is a high migration rate and further improvements in design are required to decrease this high incidence of migration.

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