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Esophageal and Airway Stenting for Comfort and Nutrition

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"By the time I saw the 73-year old female patient, she was suffering from complete esophageal obstruction," explains Christopher Derivaux, MD, Virtua thoracic surgeon. "These were longstanding strictures from years of gastric reflux inflammation. Surgery was not an option because of the patient's co-morbidities - she was undergoing dialysis and awaiting transplantation. I was able to alleviate her distress by placing an esophageal stent, allowing her to eat and digest more normally. Stenting is an endoscopically guided procedure that can produce profound effects on a patient's quality of life."

Indications for esophageal stenting include intrinsic or extrinsic, benign or malignant strictures, fistulas or tumors. It can serve as a bridge to surgery while a person undergoes radiation or chemotherapy, or be used strictly for symptom palliation.

Virtua surgeons are also performing airway stenting in a specialized OR equipped with rigid bronchoscopes and jet ventilators. The latest generation of airway stents is covered and self-expanding and fit precisely into the distal trachea, carina, and proximal bronchi. Dr. Derivaux: "The stent may eliminate the need for a patient to receive oxygen and can help ameliorate some of the breathing difficulties lung and thoracic cancer patients experience." This year, Dr. Derivaux placed the first stent of this design in the tri-state region.

This Virtua Physician article was last updated: August 21, 2008