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Respiration. 2009;78(1):69-74. doi: 10.1159/000213244. Epub 2009 Apr 10.

Infections related to airway stenting: a systematic review.

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Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Athens, Greece.



Airway stenting is nowadays an established method for the palliative and/or curative treatment of central airways obstruction. However, complications related to the use of airway stents have been reported.


We endeavored to systematically evaluate the currently available evidence regarding the infections associated with airway stenting.


We independently searched in PubMed for relevant reports. We considered articles which reported on clinical infections related to airway stenting. A case was identified as stent-associated respiratory tract infection (SARTI) according to the authors of the individual papers, based on clinical findings with or without radiological or microbiological confirmation.


Twenty-three articles (19 cohorts/case series and 4 case reports), involving 501 patients with airway stents, were included. The indication for airway stenting was malignancy and benign disease in 45 and 55% of the included patients, respectively. Ninety-three (19%) out of the 501 stented patients experienced SARTI. Pneumonia was the most common type of SARTI (47%), followed by bronchial infection (24%), cavitary pneumonia/lung abscess and intraluminal fungus ball. Staphylococcus aureus (39%) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (28%) were the most commonly identified pathogens. Twenty-six (68%) out of the 38 patients with SARTI, for whom outcome data were available, died.


The accumulated and evaluated evidence suggests that SARTI probably involves 1 in 5 patients with airway stent. Although the possibility of SARTI should not discourage the interventional pneumologists from inserting airway stents, the data seem to underline the urgent need for establishing a consensus definition and diagnostic criteria for SARTI.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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