Expert raises red flags over forgotten stents and how they fail

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Many patients are outliving their gastrointestinal (GI) stents, and this can pose particular problems. “In the last few years, we have seen quite a dramatic increase in patients who present with a structural failure of their stent in the upper GI tract, notably the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum, which has been brought on by the dramatic increase in survival of patients, even with disseminated cancer, Hans-Ulrich Laasch (Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK) tells Interventional News. 

While much further research is needed, the superalloy, nitinol, that the stents are made of undergoes corrosive failure when exposed to stomach acid so the stents break and fall apart. “We probably have at least one or two stent procedures a week where we have to revise a stent, exchange it and replace it, because the old one is no longer functional,” notes Laasch, who adds that interventional radiologists should be integral to tracking these devices as they have the requisite understanding of the clinical problem, are familiar with how the stents should look, and access to the imaging that shows the changes the earliest. 

This interview was filmed at the British Society of Interventional Radiology (BSIR) Annual Scientific Meeting 2021 (8–10 December, Glasgow, UK). 


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