The researchers investigated laser treatment of malignant dysphagia in a district general hospital in England.
The findings of the study were published in the latest issue of Digestive Surgery.
All patients who had laser therapy for relief from malignant dysphagia, from March 1995 to January 2000, were included in the retrospective study. A total of 40 patients (25 males), with histologically proven esophageal carcinoma, were unsuitable for surgical resection.
Trainees, under supervision, conducted 20% of the sessions. The treatment was done on a day case basis, with no outpatient follow-up.
The patients had direct access to the service whenever dysphagia got worse.
The median number of sessions per patient was 4 (range 1-13).
| Median palliation period per laser session: 7 weeks.
| Digestive Surgery |
The team found that the median palliation period per session was 7 (range 1-32) weeks. The median total palliation period was 7 months.
There was no procedure-related mortality.
Author A. H. Emad, of the Princess Margaret Hospital, Swindon, said on behalf of the group, "Laser therapy is a safe, easy to teach and learn technique for relief from malignant dysphagia.
"It can be done on a day case basis, with minimum need for follow-up and hospital visits."
"Such a service could be provided in a district general hospital set-up once equipment and experience are available, thus saving patients from having to travel to specialist units," it was concluded.