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To explore the techniques and related complication management of airway metal stents removal with rigid bronchoscope under general anesthesia. We reviewed 20 patients who had received rigid bronchoscopic stents removal under general anesthesia from Jan. 2008 to Jan. 2015. The clinical data were analyzed retrospectively. The indications for stents removal and potential difficulties encountered, the relationship between techniques and related complications of stents removal were discussed and analyzed, and our experiences were summarized. The indications for airway metal stents removal included stent migration, fracture, and granulation related in-stent restenosis. Nineteen airway metal stents were removed from 20 patients, which included 9 covered metal stents, 6 without fragmentation and 3 with fragmentation. The average duration of stenting before removal was (7.4±6.9)months (5 days-24 months). Of the 11 uncovered metal stents, which had stayed in the airway for (10.2±7.0) months (20 days-24 months), 10 were removed successfully and 1 failed. Three of them were removed intact and 7 fragmented. Complications were as follows: airway bleeding requiring management (n=11), airway collapse (n=6), re-obstruction requiring temporary stent placement (n=5), postoperative tracheal intubation (n=1), mucosal tear with tracheoesophageal fistula (n=1), airway firing (n=1), airway obstruction, and death as a result of attempted stent removal (n=1). Airway metal stent removal is a high-risk operation. Indications for stents removal should be evaluated thoroughly and all the advantages and disadvantages should be evaluated. Once stent removal is decided, the type of the metal stent, the position of the stent implanted, the duration of stenting, and the extent of the stent embedded in granulation tissue should be carefully considered to assess the difficulty of the procedure. Dissection of the stent from the airway wall before extracting it can reduce complications such as airway bleeding, mucosal tear and airway obstruction. At the same time, a standby stent is needed to deal with possible airway collapse after stent removal. Removal of metal airway stents should only be performed by a proficient and experienced interventional pulmonology team to ensure successful operation and to improve patient safety.


L Q Wang, J Zhang, J Wang, Y H Pei, Y L Wang, X J Qiu, T Wang, M Xu, C Y Zhang. Airway metal stents removal by rigid bronchoscopy]. Zhonghua jie he he hu xi za zhi = Zhonghua jiehe he huxi zazhi = Chinese journal of tuberculosis and respiratory diseases. 2016 Feb;39(2):98-104

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PMID: 26879612

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