Indexed on: 12 Jul '01Published on: 12 Jul '01Published in: Zentralblatt fur Chirurgie
Surgical treatment of central venous obstruction is difficult and sometimes hazardous, but not always successful. Sufficient palliation of malign stenoses can often be achieved by stent implantation. Thus it seems necessary to define the relative value of stenting in comparison to surgical reconstruction for the treatment of benign obstructions, with special respect to the long-term results.Between 1990 and 1999, 64 central venous stents were implanted. Mediastinal vein obstructions in 23 hemodialysis patients were treated with a total of 35 stents. 29 iliofemoral stents were implanted following operative or conservative treatment of 21 venous thromboses. During the same time period, only 6 surgical bypasses were performed (all in hemodialysis patients). All patients were followed-up prospectively. Patency rates were calculated according to the life table-method.Following stent implantation one asymptomatic pulmonary stent embolism (2.3%) and three stent misplacements (6.8%) were documented. Two of the latter were successfully treated with another stent. In the surgical group, one patient died at eight weeks due to late complications of a cephalosporine-associated Lyell syndrome. One to five year patency rates were not significantly different among the three groups.For benign central venous stenoses in hemodialysis patients and following iliofemoral venous thrombosis, stent implantation can be recommended as a simple, safe, and durable means to restore patency. Still there is a role for surgery in severely symptomatic central venous occlusions when stent implantation is impossible or has failed.