To Stent or not to Stent and if Stented When to Remove it? Glimpse of Interventional Pulmonology Conundrums with an Illustrative Series
OBJECTIVE Our goal was to identify and analyze airway stent complications and to devise approaches to manage stent complications. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING We conducted a retrospective review of patients from a tertiary medical center. METHODS Twenty-eight airway stents were placed in 23 patients for benign (n = 15) and malignant (n = 13) tracheobronchial diseases. All patients were followed clinically for signs of complications. RESULTS Nine complications (8 in those with benign disease and 1 in a patient with malignant disease) were identified and included stent migration (n = 3), excessive granulation tissue (n = 2), stent fracture (n = 1), poor patient tolerance (n = 2), and inability to place (n = 1). Avoidance and management strategies for stent complications are introduced. CONCLUSION Tracheobronchial stents provide minimally invasive therapy for significant airway obstruction. Stent complications are more frequently encountered in the long-term treatment of benign conditions. Stents can be successfully removed endoscopically if complications arise, but the longer a metallic stent is in place, the more difficult it is to remove. SIGNIFICANCE As airway stent use increases, proper management will be required to avoid and manage complications. This is the first report to focus on stent complications and their management.