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Endoscopic lumen restoration for obstructive aphagia: outcomes of a 25-year experience

Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
DOI: 10.1016/j.gie.2012.02.037
  • Medicine


Background After chemoradiation therapy for head/neck cancer, some patients develop strictures that progress to complete pharyngoesophageal occlusion. Total lumen occlusion is less often due to other conditions. Enteral access (enterostomy tube) and good nutritional status tend to minimize the significance of dysphagia and therefore may mask recognition of impending complete lumen occlusion. Objective Review outcomes of a 25-year experience with endoscopic lumen restoration (ELR) in 30 patients. Design Retrospective, case review study. Setting Two tertiary-care referral centers. Patients This study involved 30 consecutive patients referred for obstructive aphagia due to complete lumen occlusion, primarily after chemoradiation therapy for head/neck cancer. Intervention Antegrade and retrograde endoscopy with tri-plane fluoroscopy for penetrating the occluded segment, serial retrograde and antegrade dilations, plus swallowing rehabilitation therapy. Main Outcome Measurements Restoration of lumen patency, swallowing function, and removal of enteral feeding tube. Results ELR was successful in 30 patients in 31 of 33 attempts (93%). Return to soft to regular diet was achieved in 15 of 30 patients (50%), and fluids to pureed food with partial percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy nutrition was achieved in 5 of 30 patients (17%). Ten of 30 patients (33%) were considered unsafe for oral feeding because of oropharyngeal neuromotor deficits. Complications occurred in 5 of 30 patients (17%), with no prolonged sequelae, deaths, or surgery, but two stents were placed for anastomotic fistulas. The median duration of follow-up was 22.75 months. Limitations Retrospective, case review study. Conclusion ELR by using tri-plane fluoroscopic guidance with antegrade and retrograde endoscopy and serial dilations allows lumen restoration and swallowing to some degree in a majority of patients. Engagement of a core team of specialists can provide optimal restoration of swallowing function.

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