Acute left-sided malignant colonic obstruction is common in elderly patients, in which emergency surgery is related with high morbidity and mortality rates, and often necessitates a two-step resection. Although the use of self-expanding metallic stents (SEMS) in elderly patients has not been adequately described yet, there are almost two international important trials which are still in progress, the stenting technique is established to be, by the international literature, an useful treatment with low morbidity and mortality. It’s also a bridge to surgery, since the insertion of a SEMS can decompress the obstruction, making bowel and patient preparation possible and facilitating single-stage surgical resection. Palliative stenting can improve quality of life when compared to surgery in patients with metastasis or high co-morbidity.
The aim of this study is to analyze mortality, avoidance of stoma, short- and long-term survival in patient with malignant left-sided large bowel obstruction who underwent to stent placement in our Emergency Surgery Unit, which is operative since November 2010 in our city Hospital in Ferrara.
Patients and methods
Between November 2010 and December 2012 a total of 15 patients with acute left-sided malignant large bowel obstruction suitable for colonic stent application were admitted to Emergency Surgery Unit. Among these patients, 9 underwent to self-expanding metallic stent placement (group A), the other (group B) 6 patient underwent to emergency surgery.
In this observational not-randomized study we analyzed the efficacy and safety of SEMS placement for patients either as a bridge to surgery or as a palliation, beside the short term and long term outcomes, versus those patients operated straight.
Self-expanding metallic stents were successfully implanted in 9 of the 15 patients with acute left-sided malignant large bowel obstruction. No acute procedure-related complication was observed. All the patients in group A kept the stent in place for an average of 7,7 days, then everyone underwent to surgery. A large bowel resection with one-time recanalization was performed in 8 of the 9 patients. None Hartmann resection was necessary. Only one underwent again to surgery because of a dehiscence, a stoma was necessary.
Between the other 6 patients in group B who underwent directly to surgery, In one case was necessary an Hartmann resection, another one incurred in dehiscence of the anastomosis that required reoperation with stoma creation.
Placement of SEMS seems to be an useful alternative to emergent surgery in the management of acute left-sided bowel obstruction, both as a bridge to surgery and as a palliative procedure. SEMS can provide an effective and safe therapeutic option compared to emergency surgery, most of all in elderly patients, with a lower mortality rate, a significantly higher rate of primary anastomosis and the avoidance of stoma.
However, to fully determine their role for these indications, more data and more high level evidence is required.