The team investigated the use of rigid bronchoscopy and stenting in patients with advanced inoperable esophageal cancer, who had malignant tracheobronchial obstruction.
They published their results in the September issue of Chest.
Of patients with esophageal cancer, 30% have malignant involvement of the major airways, leading to respiratory distress and life-threatening major airway obstruction.
Tracheobronchial stenting has been reported to be effective in providing sustained relief from obstruction.
A chart review of all eligible patients at the Singapore General Hospital, between 1998 and 2001, was conducted.
Of the 11 patients identified, 5 had distant metastases at the time they underwent rigid bronchoscopy.
Four patients who required mechanical ventilation for respiratory failure were successfully weaned off ventilation after the stenting procedure.
| Stenting provided immediate relief of respiratory symptoms in all patients with dyspnea.
The researchers found that all patients with dyspnea had immediate relief of respiratory symptoms, which was sustained for 7 patients (64%).
The mean duration of survival was 61 days.
Nonetheless, 2 patients required repeat procedures, 1 for stent dislodgement on extubation and the other for stent migration.
Kenneth Ping Wah Chan concluded on behalf of his group, "Stenting in patients with malignant tracheobronchial obstructions due to advanced esophageal cancer achieves immediate, dramatic, and sustainable relief in respiratory symptoms.
"It confers a survival benefit in patients whose conditions are otherwise deemed to be terminal."