‘No Stent Left Behind': A Review of Stent Removal and Related Complications

Ayoub Innabi,1 Sarenthia Mcclelland,1 Tuhina Raman,2 Bashar Alzghoul,1 *Nikhil Meena2

1. Division of Internal Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
2. Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
*Correspondence to nkmeena@uams.edu

Disclosure: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest.
Received: 21.07.17 Accepted: 26.09.17
Citation: EMJ Respir. 2017;5[1]:78-84.


Recently, there have been enormous developments in the endoscopic management of central airway obstruction secondary to benign or malignant processes. Airway stents are an essential component of such management. They provide rapid relief to patients with central airway obstruction. However, like any other foreign object introduced into the body, airway stents have their own complications. These can range from benign, such as increased coughing, to fatal, due to massive haemorrhage. Placement of a stent is a temporary bridging therapy to allow the patient to undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapeutic management. Airway stents should not be left in situ for long, as they themselves can become a disease in patients who already have life-limiting diseases. Hence, the motto at our centre is ‘no stent left behind’, with the only caveat being that they are left behind when the removal itself could cause death. In this paper, we will review the recent literature covering the removal of airway stents. We also describe our experience with airway stents removal. We conclude that efforts should be made to remove all airway stents when the primary disease is controlled. No stent left behind!

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