Quality of life in patients with esophageal stenting for the palliation of malignant dysphagia

Diamantis G; Scarpa M; Bocus P; Realdon S; Castoro C; Ancona E; Battaglia G
World J Gastroenterol; 17(2): 144-50, 2011 Jan 14.
Incidence of esophageal cancer (EC) is rising more rapidly in the Western world than that of any other cancer. Despite advances in therapy, more than 50% of patients have incurable disease at the time of presentation. This precludes curative treatment and makes palliative treatment a more realistic option for most of these patients. Dysphagia is the predominant symptom in more than 70% of patients with EC and although several management options have been developed in recent years to palliate this symptom, the optimum management is not established. Self-expanding metal stents (SEMS) are a well-established palliation modality for dysphagia in such patients. Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is becoming a major issue in the evaluation of any therapeutic or palliative intervention. To date, only a few published studies can be found on Medline examining HRQoL in patients with advanced EC treated with SEMS implantation. The aim of this study was to review the impact on HRQoL of SEMS implantation as palliative treatment in patients with EC. All Medline articles regarding HRQoL in patients with advanced EC, particularly those related to SEMS, were reviewed. In most studies, relief of dysphagia was the only aspect of HRQoL being measured and SEMS implantation was compared with other palliative treatments such as brachytherapy and laser therapy. SEMS insertion provides a swift palliation of dysphagia compared to brachytherapy and no evidence was found to suggest that stent implantation is different to laser treatment in terms of improving dysphagia, recurrent dysphagia and better HRQoL, although SEMS insertion has a better technical success rate and also reduces the number of repeat interventions.

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