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Self-expanding metallic stents have been employed successfully for vascular, urethral, and biliary strictures. In a prospective study we examined the efficacy of the 16 mm Wallstent for palliation of malignant dysphagia. Eight patients with severe dysphagia due to advanced primary (four) or secondary (four) oesophageal malignant disease were recruited and nine Wallstents were inserted (one patient required two). Dysphagia was reduced in all but one patient, who died after oesophageal perforation; a second patient had a self-limiting bout of haematemesis. Two patients required subsequent treatment for tumour ingrowth but five had no further palliative therapy from stent insertion to time of death. With careful patient selection and skillful application, a 16 mm self-expanding metal endoprosthesis affords effective palliation in malignant oesophageal obstruction.