To review complications of indwelling tracheal stents and to describe a technique of stent removal using a combined open and endoscopic approach.
Descriptive case series.
Medical University of South Carolina.
Six patients were identified who had undergone combined open and endoscopic removal of indwelling tracheal stents. Coated (4 patients) and uncoated (2 patients) expandable metal stents had been present for an average time of 24 months (range, 5-60 months) before removal.
Main Outcome Measures
Medical comorbidities, characteristics of the underlying airway lesion (origin, type, and length), stent characteristics (type and duration), and the presentation and management of stent-related complications.
All patients presented with worsening dyspnea and/or stridor, with 3 requiring intubation. Stent removal was performed in the operating room and consisted of initial exposure of the trachea for emergency airway access, removal of the indwelling stent under bronchoscopic and transtracheal guidance, and tracheotomy. Two patients experienced desaturations of more than 25% during the procedure, and 2 patients had stents that could be only partially removed. Five patients subsequently received Montgomery T-tubes without complications after a mean follow-up of 23 months (range, 6-40 months).
Indwelling tracheal stents are becoming increasingly common in the management of benign airway stenosis. The stents frequently occlude with granulation tissue and may require removal. A combined open and endoscopic removal maximizes airway protection and minimizes potential complications.