Background: Intrathoracic contamination from esophageal perforation, staple line dehiscence, or trauma can be a preterminal event. In our institution, covered self-expanding metal stents have been used aggressively in the management of esophageal leak, but their use remains controversial. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of esophageal salvage using stents to assist in the management of intrathoracic esophageal leakage. Methods: Over 38 months, 63 patients with esophageal or gastric leaks were evaluated for stenting as primary treatment and identified using a prospective database. Results: Fifty-six patients were managed with endoscopic stenting as primary therapy and 30 of those patients required a thoracic intervention after stenting. Seven of these patients required esophageal diversion after stent failure. Thirty-day mortality was 10% in the patients with intrathoracic contamination. Conclusions: We suggest that the use of covered self-expanding metal stents in patients with intrathoracic leak after esophageal perforation is safe and offers esophageal salvage in 77% regardless of time of presentation.
- Esophageal leak
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