Background: Airway complications are among the most challenging problems after lung transplantation, and Self-Expandable Metallic Stents (SEMS) are used to treat airway complications such as stenosis or malacia at the bronchial anastomosis sites. Several transplantation centers are reluctant to use SEMS since their removal is sometimes needed and usually requires the use of rigid bronchoscopy under general anesthesia. The objective of the current report is to describe our experience in SEMS retrieval by flexible bronchoscopy under conscious sedation.Methods: A retrospective review was done of patients requiring tracheobronchial stent placement after lung transplantation in which the SEMS had to be removed. The retrieval procedure was done by flexible bronchoscopy on a day-care ambulatory basis.Results: Between January 2004 and January 2010, out of 305 lung transplantation patients, 24 (7.8%) underwent SEMS placement. Indications included bronchial stenosis in 20 and bronchomalacia in 4. In six patients (25%) the SEMS had to be removed due to excessive granulation tissue formation and stent obstruction. The average time from SEMS placement to retrieval was 30 months (range 16-48 months). The stent was completely removed in five patients and partially removed in one patient; no major complications were encountered, and all patients were discharged within 3 hours of the procedure. In all procedures, new SEMS was successfully re-inserted thereafter.Conclusions: The retrieval of SEMS in patients that underwent lung transplantation can be effectively and safely done under conscious sedation using flexible bronchoscopy on a day-care basis, this observation should encourage increasing usage of SEMS in highly selected patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine